Basseterre, St. Kitts, May 10, 2020 (SKNIS): The Department of Labour in St. Kitts and Nevis is strongly urging employees who have been laid off not to request termination from their employer, but rather to remain patient as more and more businesses resume operations.
During a presentation at the National Emergency Operations Centre COVID-19 Daily Briefing on May 09, Deputy Commissioner of Labour, Dr Deon Webb, said “We prefer to have as many persons in employment as possible. As the lock-down continues to ease … the Labour Commissioner’s Office is very optimistic that these employees who were laid off will resume work shortly.”
Employees are not entitled to wages or salaries while laid off. The Protection of Employment Act stipulates that the maximum layoff period is 12 weeks. After the three week period, an employee can request termination. This will entitle them to file a severance claim if they have been working for more than one year with the same company.
Dr Webb strongly advised against this. If terminated, persons may find themselves out of a job for an extended period of time.
The St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board has established a COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund that provides a supplementary income of up to $1,000 to be paid in the months of April, May and June in the first instance. It is paid to qualifying residents who lost their jobs or are on reduced hours and earning less than $1,000 per month. Self-employed persons registered with social security as well as individuals made redundant as a result of the coronavirus pandemic have also benefited from this assistance.
The temporary programme is not meant to act as a substitute for holding a job, but rather to help ease the difficult transition during the coronavirus pandemic.