Sunday 5 April, 2020

Pandemic leave not yet finalised

File photo.

File photo.

The proposed pandemic leave announced by Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus almost two weeks ago is still under consideration.

The new classification of paid leave was announced as part of a draft policy meant to provide guidance to employers and their workers in light of the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic on business operations.

Leader of Government Business in the Parliament Camille Robinson-Regis gave an update on the pandemic leave on behalf of the Labour Minister at the House of Representatives’ sitting on Wednesday.

She noted that it is before the Finance and General Purposes Committee (F&GP) of the Cabinet.

The Committee met on Tuesday and requested clarification on two issues. Robinson-Regis noted that the matter will be sent for consideration before the National Tripartite Advisory Council (NTAC) and once a response is received from that committee, it will be sent back to the F&GP, then to the Cabinet for final approval.  

Responding to an Opposition query on whether the announcement on the policy recommendation by the Minister was premature, Robinson-Regis noted that at the time of the announcement, the Minister would have indicated that it was a draft policy that would have to go through several stages of approval, and final approval would be made by the Cabinet.

Robinson-Regis noted that the leave was drafted after extensive consultation with a number of parties from various sectors, including the Chief Personnel Officer, representatives from the Ministry of National Security, the Ministry of Health, all heads of Divisions and Units of the Ministry of Labour, the CEO of NEDCO, the Executive Director of OSHA and his team, the Cipriani Labour College, and many others before consultation with NTAC.

Guidelines on this leave are expected to be announced soon.

Officers who will be eligible for Pandemic Leave within the Public Service are as follows:

1. Public Officers — Permanent, temporary, monthly paid and daily rated;

2. Fixed Term Contract Employees;

3. Short Term Contract Employees;

4. On the Job Trainees (OJTS);

5. Office Holders within the purview of the Salaries Review Commission (SRC) - (whose Office falls in the Public Service such as Top Managers, Judiciary and Legal Services).

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