Acting Labour Commissioner, Kelvin Pacquette says a matter of grave importance to the division is the non-compliance by certain business establishments in the implementation of the new minimum wage order which took effect on September 1, 2021.
In July of 2021, Minister for National Security and Home Affairs, Rayburn Blackmoore announced the increase in accordance with the Labor Standard Act of the 2017 revised laws of Dominica.
The changes came about following recommendations from a tripartite committee in 2020, consisting of representatives of the private sector, the government and the unions, which was appointed in 2019 to review Dominica’s minimum wage.
Whilst the increase in minimum wages was widely accepted, Pacquette stated that at present, a concern echoed by many employees within the private sector especially in the security and cleaning service, is that some employers have not implemented the increase as outlined.
The acting Labour Commissioner said the Division of Labour has played a major role in ensuring that the information is made available to both employers and employees around the country and as a result of non-compliance, several businesses have been formally written to.
“Another concern is regarding the question of what rate is to be paid to other unskilled workers such as porters and shelf packers who are not listed in the schedule. These workers would fall under the categories of other unskilled workers and should be paid at a rate of $7.50 an hour,” Pacquette stated.
He also addressed complaints by employees over wages paid for Sunday.
“Sunday by virtue of the law, is a holiday and any worker who has consented to work on a holiday is entitled to double pay or time off equivalent to the number of hours that the individual would have earned,” Pacquette explained. “The same would apply for working after normal working hours on a regular working day. This would be overtime pay at a rate of time and a half or time off equivalent to the number of hours that the individual would have earned.”
The acting Labour Commissioner applauded all the law abiding establishments who, according to him, “continue to honor their basic responsibilities as employers. He however, encouraged others to cooperate and adhere to the provisions of the laws.
“By not doing so, you are acting contrary to the laws of the Commonwealth of Dominica and we all are aware of the unfortunate situation this could pose for you legally.” Pacquette cautioned.
He continued, “I wish to implore the cooperation of everyone as we continue to work together to ensure that the requirements of the laws are upheld in order to create a cordial productive and rewarding working environment for all. The division of labor is committed to promoting international labor standards and occupational health and safety practices in the workplace including the new protocol and procedures for COVID-19.”
Recently, the Division embarked on an educational drive to promote good practices in the workplace and has been meeting with both employers and employees on the worksites to investigate the individual situations and to provide vital information and advice on the interpretation and application of the labor legislation.
The acting Labour Commissioner says, considering the health risk which emerged with the COVID-19 pandemic, his division has had to increase its awareness of the provisions of the Employment Safety Act in accordance with the health protocols adopted by the Ministry of Health and the government of Dominica
He said, “notwithstanding all the challenges placed by the staff due to social distancing policies and health issues brought about by the pandemic, the staff of the division of labour continues to provide exceptional service to the public and strong support to other government institutions.”
In regards to the industrial relations board or tribunal as it is popularly known, Pacquette averred that such services have been interrupted due to the pandemic and social distancing arrangements which has caused a delay in their meeting for several months. However, plans are in place for the resumptions of the said meetings.
He also announced success in the stimulation of employment and job placement through the Canada Caribbean Seasonal Agricultural Workers Program.
Dominica who has been a regular participant of the program since 1966 for the first time has witnessed the acceptance of women in the initiative which now boasts of 108 active workers and 188 registered workers.
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AA….Boy I laughing you hear! My head is hurting bad. Look here people, this is where real leadership is needed. You put a cart before the horse and see what progress you get. The minimum wage increase at this particular time will do more harm to our people than good. The reason being, there are several thousands of illegal foreigners on the Island who will be the beneficiaries of this by-law, because they are the ones (mostly) who are satisfied with whatever they are paid. So, there has to be a way around this to charge/penalize those business people who hire any worker who is willing to work for less. Already we have the Chinese giving our people tough competition selling inferior products which they import duty free or for a dime on the dollar. We cannot afford to go backwards; and that’s what I have been seeing with all these “so-called” laws which (in my opinion) are indicative of Dogs without teeth. They bark, but don’t bite.
It looks like the Labour division is ‘concerned’… Well, well I’m not surprised by the news. Let’s face it, most of those businesses owners are members of the Skerrit cabal and as such do as they please. After all it was their hero who proclaimed: NO LAW AND NO CONSTITUTION…
“Acting contrary to the laws”, there isn’t anything new here. These businesses which have not complied with the new wage increases have precedence from the ruling cabal. We were informed by Tony As*-taphan that money obtained from the sale of passports, which are the property of the country, was used in the Labor party election campaign. This clearly is contrary to the written laws of the country. The double doctorate dude told the country that backdoor entry into Dominca has been going on all the time instead of insisting that it stop, sends the message that it’s ok to break the laws and get away with it. The Constitution clearly has provisions for length of residency to qualify to vote in an election but the cabal keeps importing persons without the requisite compliance and let’s them vote. There should be an inquiry into why these businesses are not complying instead of simply reading them the provisions of the law. They might need assistance.
Where are our unions. Have they been bought off too?
Can the Commissioner tell us why Dominica has not participated in the farm labor program for so many years while the other islands have been sending workers by the hundreds?
Enough of the pussy footing!
If there is non-compliance by any company or individual drag them before the court or impose the necessary sanctions. Dca is a country of laws and we need to stop this nonsense of passivity when those who fail to comply with laws hide behind politicians of party political affiliations. As of now, I know of two DLP related employers who flat out refuse to comply. Go get them and so others will pay the poor man his dues.
Bwa-Banday, hold up! In most countries around the world the government in office gave at least one stimulus to businesses and citizens to ease the burden caused by the pandemic. The question is did these businesses which haven’t paid yet have the ability to pay at this time and did the Skerritt administration give them any financial assistance as was given to bus drivers. Instead of considering dragging them to the court why not investigate to find out why they haven’t been able to pay.HHV Whitchurch got government (Dominican taxpayers) assistance in the past, Insurance companies got government assistance too, and weren’t dragged before the court. Would you be happy with these businesses closing and the employees put out to pasture thus increasing the unemployment in the country? I guess to you NEP is a always an alternative. A little research might help shed some light on why they haven’t been able to pay. Hold your horses, Bwa-Banday.
HMMM. A certain security firm told its workers he waiting on the company to increase the amount they pay him before he can increase their pay. I asked the employee if they will be getting paid retroactive but he doesn’t know what that is. However, labor division needs to go to those employers and find out other persons who are suffering because they do not want to lose their jobs and are afraid to go to the division.
I wish there was a non compliance by government , to pay that rediculous rent of 64k per month.