Thursday, July 24, 2014

By Sharon Earle 

Minister of Labour and Social Security, Hon. Derrick Kellier, says the government will not tolerate any abuse of rights or discrimination of employees under the proposed flexi-work week arrangements.

He gave the assurance as he addressed the 55th National Conference of the Association of Methodist Men’s Fellowship, Jamaica District held on July 20, at St. John’s Methodist Church in Montego Bay.

Minister Kellier, in his presentation, again gave government’s commitment to ensure that workers’ right to worship is protected under the legislation.

He told the congregation that the implementation of flexi-week should not contravene the right to worship as employees will be afforded the opportunity to negotiate their work hours, work days and rest days.

Noting that some sectors such as tourism and security are already utilising flexi-work, Minister Kellier said that the new legislation is aimed at removing the legal restrictions that prevent the proper implementation of the arrangements between employers and their employees.

The introduction of flexi-work is part of government’s economic recovery strategy and is intended to increase employment opportunities; enhance productivity; improve customer service and afford workers the opportunity to better structure their lives through a flexible employee/employer work arrangement.

Among the legislation to be amended are: The Shop and Offices Act and Regulations, which impose restrictions on the opening and closing hours of shops; the Town and Communities Act; the various Minimum Wage Orders; the Holidays and Pay Acts; and the Women (Employment of) Act, which places restrictions on the ability of women to work at night.

For workers, who may face discrimination for refusing to change their work schedule, Mr. Kellier said “this is where the Ministry comes in, because if you are already employed in an entity, we are not going to allow the employer to abuse (the worker). The Ministry will take that situation up in hand and have it properly dealt with to the benefit of everyone.”

The Minister in the meantime, called on the church to partner with Government in the delivery of assistance and interventions to the vulnerable groups in society mainly the young, persons with disabilities and senior citizens.

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