The BVI Chamber of Commerce & Hotel Association (BVICCHA) is demanding the Ministry of Labour to urgently extend the lay-off period, saying some businesses will likely go bankrupt if they have to pay severance to workers who are currently laid off.
The Chamber said it “respectfully urges that the date be extended to 30 November 2020 in the first instance”.
The lay-off period describes the time that can elapse before an employer must pay severance to any employee who has been laid off.
Back in June, Cabinet extended the usual three-month lay-off period to seven months as many businesses found it difficult to come up with severance packages.
That extension expired on October 31 with no announcement from government.
The BVICCHA said: “If this deadline is not extended, requiring severance payments will likely bankrupt many businesses. Further, it will become unduly costly to restart the hiring process.”
Many businesses have noted that they are unable to put severance packages together because they incurred loss due the territory-wide COVID-19 lockdown which lasted several months.
Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley has promised that the lay-off period will be extended.
Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley has promised an extension but said the government has to satisfy both employers and employees when extending the lay-off period.
The BVICCHA also said it continues to advocate for government to produce a full economic recovery plan that encompasses comprehensive details of what residents, businesses, and visitors should expect come December 1 and December 8.
The Chamber had presented a plan to the government but said it was later rejected.
Premier Andrew Fahie later said aspects of that plan presented by the BVICCHA will be incorporated into the government’s final reopening plan for the BVI.
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