The Dominica Association of Industry & Commerce, DAIC, reiterates its call for lifting, in whole or in part, the statutory restriction on Sunday trading in the Commonwealth of Dominica. The particular legal restriction states in part,
3. (1) A public holiday under this act shall be kept as a close day in all departments and offices of the public service and all business places in the State.
(2) In this section the expression “business place” means any bank, shop, store, factory, agency or other place of business or employment in the State, and includes any place prescribed by Order of the Minister to be a business place.
The reason for the inclusion of Sunday as a Public Holiday (Sunday was not a holiday prior to May 1990) is not stated in the Act, unlike the other Public Holidays, and while some public pronouncements have expressed the belief that the holiday is for religious worship, the law does not site this at all.
Rather,the Protection of Employment Act (dating back to 1977) makes provision for worship on Saturday and Sunday and the DAIC is not requesting a change in this Statute.
To maintain the status quo is tantamount to saying that the operators of Hotels and Guesthouses,Petrol Stations, Security Services, Supermarkets, Small Shops, Bars and any other establishment that opens for business on Sunday should continue to break the law.
The DAIC is NOT asking for an increase in the working hours of employees or denying an employee the right to worship his Creator. Our diverse membership is aware that some employees insist on Saturday as their day of worship while others maintain the traditional Sunday
The need to amend the legislation is strictly to regularize a situation that is already accepted by theGovernment, the General Public and even the very ones who suggest that Sunday should be left alone while agreeing that it is OK for businesses to open on Sundays once they pay employees double time.
The DAIC is not denying that it is in the interest of its members not to have to pay double time for work doneon Sunday, however, we are happy and willing to uphold and support the payment of overtime on work beyond a 40 hour week and of course the payment of double time for the other statutory Public Holidays.
We think this fair.
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