BVI News

Businesses urged to establish ‘pandemic leave’ employment package for workers

Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley (forground)

Government is urging local businesses to establish what it described as a ‘pandemic leave’ employment package to assist its workers while the territory continues to be affected by the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic.

Minister of Labour Vincent Wheatley made the call during a recent session in the House of Assembly where he said the pandemic leave should neither replace vacation or sick leave.

He said: “I would like employers to be reminded that it is a hope of this government that they adopt the standards established regarding leave during this time, by adopting pandemic leave.”

“Therefore, any leave as a result of the established mandatory curfew and parents without alternative care for their child or children who may need time off should be taken from pandemic leave, if in place during COVID-19, thus allowing for leave to not be charged to an employee’s vacation or sick leave,” Wheatley added.

Business Interruption Insurance should be utilised

The minister also advised employers who have Business Interruption Insurance to utilise it during this period.

He further commended businesses who have decided to pay employees a stipend and/or have retained their employees during the ongoing pandemic.

“I would further like to thank those employers who have instituted the capabilities within their workspaces to allow for employees to work remotely,” Wheatley added.

The Labour Minister said government will be doing everything possible to ensure the survival of all businesses in the British Virgin Islands.

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30 Comments

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  1. Big vs Small says:

    This is fine to ask for the big businesses and the businesses that can keep running during this time remotely but how can you ask restaurants and bars and small businesses for this? Businesses will be lucky not to go bust during this time. How about helping the people of the territory yourselves and the businesses and not trying to pass the buck.

    Like 28
    Dislike 1
    • How Much says:

      How icy is Wheatley going to contribute? Are all the politicians going to open their bank accounts and help the small businesses. Time to spread around all the money that was stolen from the government coffers to help the people out.

  2. Spanish man says:

    Que ahí de ayudar a los que tienen permisos de trabajos que sus empleadores abusan de ellos el gobierno le cobra seguros y taxes y nunca dan la cara para nosotros los inmigrantes que hacemos tanto por ustedes

  3. Hmm says:

    How would businesses keep paying employees with no revenue? That is a bit worrying to ask that they do. Some businesses were struggling before this too.

    Like 16
    • Global Reset! says:

      Heartless. Except for the 4 supermarkets on VG and those on Tortola, who the heck is making or will earn any money since the big 2-Day shopping spree?
      They who we voted into office can easily spout out nonsense like this not having to worry about getting paid; as we the paymasters are guaranteeing their wages, but cant guarantee our own.
      What about those of us who since hurricane Irma have not been able to secure meaningful work and income; for reasons such as competition in construction by some of our own BVI contractors importing labour at lower cost than paying locals?
      On St Kitts/Nevis who entered the Tourism sector only since the last 15 years, they are able to provide a $112-million Stimulus; not only to those who are laid off for a week but to whoever where persons and businesses are experiencing financial hardship especially since the beginning of COVID-19

      • Observer says:

        @ Global Reset. This is something our leaders need to benchmark…and hopefully some concrete steps to help people survive especially if additional curfew will be considered. Please explore ALL possible options in advance of adjustment in current measures to be made next week.

  4. ONLY GOD CAN JUGDE ME says:

    That there to help those who have work permits that their employers abuse them, the government collects insurance and taxes from them and they never stand up for us immigrants who do so much for you.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
  5. big or small says:

    How do you propose businesses will fund this, Wheatley? What money? No revenue and the country is shut down.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
    • Observer says:

      @ Global Reset. This is something our leaders need to benchmark…and hopefully some concrete steps to help people survive especially if additional curfew will be considered. Please explore ALL possible options in advance of adjustment in current measures to be made next week.

    • Reading says:

      @ Big or small….Good question. I trust that all REALISTIC options will be explored…monies to pay people in private sector jobs (inclu. construction). Some get paid weekly, will need to buy more food, and pay their bills (including rent); I also trust that fruitful decisions will come out of meetings with banks and telecom providers…

  6. wow says:

    With what money? The country is shut down and there is no revenue; how do propose businesses to fund this wild idea?

  7. Sad says:

    It would be nice if in the future the Ministers would do some simple research before spouting garbage. Firstly for daily/hourly paid workers, how would employers afford to compensate them for pandemic leave when said businesses are daily earners and automatically stop earning once lockdown is enforced? Further which business interruption insurance covers pandemics? I would really like the Minister to enlighten us on this because checks have been made and the interruption insurance does not cover pandemics so as usual it seems businesses supposed to have this secret stash of millions to tap into in times like these. Everywhere else Governments have announced how they plan to help businesses, employers and the economy and listen to the nonsense BVI Government is talking.

    Like 10
    • Insurance says:

      The Insurance in the Territory doesn’t cover anything. Doesn’t cover hurricanes, earthquakes or pandemics. It only allows you to pay premiums. The government can regulate this but they won’t. They can protect the consumer but they won’t. I wonder why that is?

      Like 9
      Dislike 1
      • @ Insurance says:

        Insurance. companies, like the landlord, will tell you, “this is a business.”

        Business to an extent yes, but it stops being a business when it becomes exploitative.

        It stops being a business when a deposit is with held despite meeting all the requirements for return of that deposit.

        It stops being a business when policies are not honored, or the bare minimum is granted in few circumstances.

        It becomes a dishonest, devoid of moral a compass, greedy money gathering enterprise.

        Business, a fancy term for ugly deeds: It is now a legal term and ligitimate practical way of scamming, exploiting and robbing people.

        That ‘s all it is.

  8. Getting it right says:

    He has already place the plate on the table when he said lay-off or terminate employees. Now this is what you are asking . Check out places like the moorings and I’m sure many others . We need to start exploring a unemployment package and coming up with a way for employee and employers to pay into it and have that as a option for the staff and the territory. Let’s take care of our people no matter where they are from .

  9. true says:

    I own a small business I had 6 part time workers and 4 salaried I was given 2 days notice by the government that no more tourists would be coming .

    I had just invested $30,000 on building and another $20,000 in stock for the spring break/easter rush the busiest time of the year.

    So I still have the stock but no cash flow with suppliers to be paid.

    I pay my salaried staff rent & utilities also paid them a full months wages when we closed on the 20th.

    This will not be over till August/September now and we need what little we have to make it through , I will continue to help my staff with food and lodgings but cannot give cash when we do not have any coming in.

    Now if they had given us 2 weeks notice at the start of the month things would be completely different. They knew and didn’t tell anyone

    • :) says:

      If you paid attention worldwide you would have seen it coming. I didn’t anticipate 24/7 curfew for us but it was clear from other places closing their borders, cruise ships being turned away and quarantined that we would also be forced to close our borders. Many of the cruise ships also cancelled so regardless of if the border was opened they may not have been open for business and things are worse now than before.

  10. Born ya says:

    Ministe needs to also deal with business,especially large ones,whose management use this as an opportunity to take advantage of their employees, as I learnt that one big charter company is doing. No compassion and appreciation especially for us as locals, instead others enjoy the benefits.living in luxury homes and getting huge salaries.

    • @Born ya says:

      That’s the way they have always been. It’s in their nature to be that way.

      Sadly, only governmental policies can avert human biases, prejudices and practices, and we are yet to elect such a government.

      So, we will continue to be exploited by the naturally inclined exploiters.

      Like 5
      Dislike 1
  11. Still in Irma Maria disaster says:

    Really? Small businesses are still recovering from the storms. There is no money to pay people when we are closed up for the most of the season and still have hurricane season to go through again. Please Mr. Minister you may be making your salary but we are not! We need help! Please help us…

  12. Concerned says:

    Why can’t social security repay everyone who have been affected by this pandemic crisis???

    Like 12
    Dislike 1
    • Anonymous says:

      Social security is a by request service until you reach retirement age when you will automatically get a check. When you sick and cant work you are eligible to receive social security payments. They will not just hand out money if an application isn’t made.

      • VI says:

        Unemployment benefits needs to be introduced, it can be administrated by Social Security or the Labour Department. After two cat 5 hurricane and now this, I think its time.

  13. Me says:

    Pandemic disease is not covered in a Business Interruption Insurance policy. Mr. Minister where did you get the information that it is covered?

  14. @ Insurance says:

    Insurance. companies, like the landlord, will tell you, “this is a business.”

    Business to an extent yes, but it stops being a business when it becomes exploitative.

    It stops being a business when a deposit is with held despite meeting all the requirements for return of that deposit.

    It stops being a business when policies are not honored, or the bare minimum is granted in few circumstances.

    It becomes a dishonest, devoid of moral a compass, greedy money gathering enterprise.

    Business, a fancy term for ugly deeds: It is now a legal term and ligitimate practical way of scamming, exploiting and robbing people.

    That ‘s all it is.

  15. End Times says:

    Great response from the government but i am waiting to hear how they will be assisting persons within the territory financially. Rent still have to be paid, etc.

    It would be great if we can get assistance from social security board…it does make sense.

    • Ahh says:

      You understand ?

    • @End Times says:

      I hope people now understand the importance of paying in their employees’ Social Security and NHI contributions as well as taxes. So many employers do not comply, its the same Government that they have been swindling they are now seeking assistance.

  16. Anonymous says:

    Moorings his offering it’s employees pandemic leave unemployment package.3 – 5.5 days of vacation pay.some cleaners are working for $7.00 per hour.do the maths

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