LAYOFF NUMBERS EXPECTED TO DROP AS BUSINESS OPERATIONS PICK UP

Basseterre, St. Kitts, June 19, 2020 (SKNIS): The Department of Labour in St. Kitts is urging employees who were laid off in March 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic to remain with their employer as more businesses reopen and increase operations.

The next two weeks will mark three months since some persons were laid off from their jobs. Most of these persons work in the hospitality field. Section 28 of the Protection of Employment Act stipulates that the maximum layoff period is 12 weeks. After three months, an employee can request to be terminated.

However, Deputy Labour Commissioner, Dr Deon Webb, strongly advised persons not to request termination.

“We prefer employees do not trigger their termination at the end of the 12 weeks,” he stated. “We prefer them to hold on a little longer.”

If an employee opted to leave the company, they might be out of work for an extended period.

Businesses in St. Kitts and Nevis were allowed greater operational scope in the new emergency powers regulation that came into effect on June 13, 2020. The curfew period was adjusted from 8:00 p.m. to 5:00 a.m. to 12:00 a.m. to 5:00 a.m.

The regulation allowed restaurants to offer indoor dining to patrons, while bars resumed the sale of retail alcoholic beverages.

Over the past week, several businesses have recalled staff to resume regular duties. The numbers returning to work are expected to increase in the coming days and weeks as restrictions are rolled back further.