Government has moved to extend the severance pay period for a third successive time; now until February 28, 2021.
No official statement was issued on the extension by the territory’s Labour Minister, Vincent Wheatley. However, an order was published in the government’s official gazette, and it confirms that Cabinet made the decision on February 4.
“This Order may be cited as the Labour Code (Extension of Severance Pay Period) Order, 2021 and shall come into force on the 1st day of February, 2021. The period for the payment of severance to an employee who was temporarily laid off pursuant to section 107(4) of the Labour Code, 2010 is hereby extended to the 28th day of February, 2021,” the Order read.
It continued: “This Order shall cease to apply on the 1st day of March, 2021 and thereafter, the payment of severance to an employee upon the expiration of a three-month period, as provided under section 107(2)(c) of the Labour Code, 2010 shall be reinstated.”
First extension done in June 2020
In June 2020, Minister Wheatley explained that his government was moving to extend the territory’s maximum layoff period from the usual three months to seven months, due to the COVID-19 pandemic which continues to significantly impact most businesses in the BVI.
According to law, this allows employers to lay off their staff for a time beyond the previously-allotted three months before they are allowed to disburse severance pay.
This first extension was due to expire on October 31, 2020, but following widespread pleas from business owners across the territory, the government added another three months to the lay-off period, which pushed the expiration period to January 31, 2021.
With the third extension expiry date now pushed to February 28, employees will now have to wait until that date to see whether the government issues another extension, or if they will finally have access to their severance packages.
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