BVI News

Difficult decision on whether to extend layoff period after Oct 31

With a number of local businesses still closed due to COVID-19 and the extended October 31 ‘layoff period’ deadline nearing, Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley said he is indecisive on whether to further extend the deadline.

The layoff 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 decided to temporarily extend the usual three-month layoff period to seven months.

Speaking in a recent live forum, Minister Wheatley said deciding whether to grant a further extension is difficult and will have to be made following consultations with stakeholders.

“I haven’t made a decision as yet because I have to speak with the employers and employees about what’s best for both of them. I know the employees may want severance [and] the employers may not be able to pay severance so they have to come to a happy medium as to what is the best decision to make there,” the minister stated.

Not about choosing sides

Wheatley also said the decision is not about favouring one party over the other.

“I cannot say right now what it is going to be. I really cannot say because I don’t want it to seem like I’m choosing one over the other,” he stated.

“By telling the employer you must pay the employee and you have no money; and if I told the employee, ‘you might just hang around without any payment’, is a very difficult decision for us to make,” Wheatley further explained.

Employers asking for extension

The minister said he has already been approached by some business owners who are yet to recover from the pandemic and who have, therefore, called for a further extension of the layoff period.

“They don’t want to lose employees but they don’t have work for them at this time and they (employees) can’t find other work,” he stated.

Once no further amendments are made to the Labour Code (Amendment) Act 2020, employers who fail to hire employees back by October 31 will have to pay severance.

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  1. Ning says:

    Gov’t has killed both the employer and the employee with your ‘masterful’ planning and guidance, so i guess congratulations are in order! There will be no need for ‘dispute mediation’ because at day’s end, there will be nothing in the pot for either to find a ‘happy medium’ over.

    What you have done to the private sector with your silence, fear mongering, lack of planning, indecisiveness, and nonsensical selectiveness of who opens and who does not is a disgrace!

    I’ve yet to even see a ‘pin prick’ of ‘light’ or ‘hope’ at the end of the proverbial tunnel by this Government, and for that you should be ashamed!

    Covid 19 is going NOWHERE, we MUST live with it and plan accordingly!

    Like 45
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    • Rubber Duck says:

      In the UK more people die from suicide than Covid.

      Here more people are murdered than die from Covid

      It’s the great Panicdemic.

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      • smoking says:

        you been smoking something? There is less than 7000 deaths by suicide in the UK each year there has been 41,664 deaths in the UK from COVID-19 .

        You are an idiot

        Like 4
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        • Pandora's Box says:

          Yet in the BVI there has been more murders than covid-19 deaths by a 2 to 1 ratio! 😉

        • @smoking says:

          Every death is being attributed to Covid. Natural death by old age, car accident victims, cancer deaths. All of it is Covid. How about a country posting non Covid deaths vs. Covid deaths and show the real numbers.

          Like 10
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      • Here says:

        Here more people die from scooter accidents. I guess there’s no cure or vaccine for stupidly

        Like 10
      • Stupid says:

        500,000 people die in the U.K. each year. How many were attributed to Covid that would have died from other causes. We need to LIVE with this. Throw out the present do nothing government and let us all LIVE.

  2. vip heckler says:

    The VIP is between a rock and a hard place because they failed to plan

    Like 19
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  3. @Ning says:

    You are correct. I would add that putting a 1 pm curfew while allowing 90% of businesses to open is just downright stupid and short-sighted! We are opening all the businesses and still telling people stay at home. Stay at home to do what? How can businesses open if their employees are at home? If businesses that are owed monies are open, surely the consumers have to find a way to pay them? Surely everyone has banking to do? School opening so they need to get certain things? Construction is ongoing so people have to get supplies? People are doing home improvements and need stuff? People need to go to the supermarket every few days? Laundry? All do be done by mid-day and then rush back home? So let us cram thousands of people together for 3-4 hrs a day for two weeks in an effort to stop the spread. Unbelievable!

    Like 37
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    • Ning and @Ning says:

      You are both correct over a million times!!!! What a travesty yesterday trying to get home at 12:30 with everyone and their mother cramming the streets in an effort to be home by 1pm. All of this madness because we have a Government who fails to PLAN and PLAN PROPERLY. Looks like COVID is only up at night and is no where during the day. All you all kidding me? This misguided instructions is what will have a spike in the next few weeks thereby having them seek another lockdown but i will tell you this: BE WISE. The rest of the world is watching. Let us stop the arrogant behavior. Remember this BVI: The BVI is NOT the only place in the world to do business nor it is the only beautiful place in the world that tourists would want to visit. You are killing this BVI.

      Like 16
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      • Visitor says:

        I agree with you completely. The BVI will be begging people to come there because of all the foolishness of the government.
        Firstly they are chasing the people who are helping to boost their economy. Expats are paying for work permits plus tax. That’s revenue right there.
        Then they are blocking tourists from coming, you guys are killing your own economy

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    • Haha says:

      The employees of the businesses that are opened are allowed to work. I Don’t undertstand your comment about allowing businesses to open buy telling employees to stay at home. Nobody has ever said that, must have been a brain fart. You do not need to go supermarket every day or week if you shop smart. I haven’t been inside the bank in weeks, everything can be done online or at the ATM. You are looking at it wrong. Let’s have people stay at homes from 1pm -5am for 2 weeks to minimize the spread. Even if everybody rush out at the same time, Adults should be able to use common sense and social distance and follow the guidelines.

      Like 5
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      • @Ha ha says:

        You are talking BT! You cannot expect to close down the Territory at the end of the month while opening banks, insurance, BVIEC, hardware stores, construction sites etc. and not expect that traffic will be bad. The roadways are NOT equipped to deal with everyone trying to get into and leave town/highway at the same time. The point is there is ZERO difference from a health perspective between 1pm and 5pm. The curfew should have been to 5 pm for a few weeks and keep bars closed. How long do you think Trust Companies and others can pay people to be home f***ing around or coming into town for 3 hrs a day? This is real, it has been 7 months let’s grow the h**l up and stop the fear mongering BS!!

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  4. Here's a thought... says:

    How about reopening the borders!

    Like 11
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  5. Here's a thought... says:

    How about reopening the borders! Let the businesses be self-sufficient again.

    Please, please, please!

  6. Worst Government In BVI History says:

    Sometimes people need to be careful what they wished for. I remember being fed up with the nonchalant out of touch behaviour of the NDP. I remember when Hon. Fahie used to say NDP feel they jamming but the jammed in. Actually I made that a teeshirt. Now as a small business owner who has not been able to serve a customer since march, up to my head in bills — I feel jammed in now. This government which I regret wasting gas to drive behind let me down and the Territory. I had hope they were going to say something to give encouragement but is a pack of F they keep talking. If any of them tell me one more time about NDP 7 million or pier park i gon cuss. They kill the BVI small businesses. Put a man at immigration that causing headache for workers i ready to VOTE NOW

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  7. Nonsense says:

    -This government is destroying the bvi economy
    -This island can’t survive without tourism
    -Keeping the border close makes no sense
    -This virus won’t end anytime soon
    -All the rest of Islands & Countries working to open there borders September 15 and October 1
    -Its shame this government will make the BVI fall more that it’s suffering already
    -People have to eat the have to pay rent, bills, school fee and the list go on and on
    -The landlords are wicked just like the government
    -Most of the businesses are waiting for the border to open
    -People already know the have to wear a mask, sanitized and keep social distances
    -Chasing away all the expats is wrong the are the ones who work like dogs after hurricane Irma to bring back this island to where it is today
    -Always remember there is a god and he don’t sleep so the next time a major hurricane hit the bvi remember is the vip cause

    I rest my case

    Like 23
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  8. Nonsense says:


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  9. Charnele says:

    Those employers who can pay the severance should.

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    • Pandora's Box says:

      And the employers that can’t pay because of current political and pandemic conditions have broken them should then do what?

  10. Scrubisland Staffs says:

    Just give me my severance pay..!!!! Cause this is B.S. as far as I see it

    Like 6
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    • Lost Lemon says:

      Brother/Sister you need blame your Government not Scrub. They would be open and have you back if our leaders had an ounce of common sense between them. But even until today Government has no plan and have told no hospitality companies just what they are going to do.

      Hotels cannot even take bookings yet because they do not know when the borders may open and under what conditions guests will arrive to.

      If they just gave the businesses a plan then things would start to open up.

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  11. Musa says:

    Hon leader if you cannot make a decision then we will get somebody who can.

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  12. local says:

    You say that employers say they don’t want to let go employee and lay off employees saying they cant find work i lost minister what you don’t know what to do ,extending will solve anything.Money is adding up for severance pay so you don’t think its best the employer pay out instead of having it mount up.

    • Pandora's Box says:

      I think what you’re not getting here is that there is not going to be any employers left by the time these guys do something! So good luck with that severance, and I am sure Government and employees will blame the big, bad, evil employers at day’s end!

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  13. Bvi lander says:

    …. Is he getting rid of expats without giving them their social security and their severance pay?
    H****less human being
    After a person spent 10 to 15 years in your country. That’s no way to treat them

  14. Arrogance says:

    Why didn’t the govt call a Board comprising of say two experience personal , Of doctors , businessmen , fishermen, tourist a cross section of the working pillars etc and roll out a plan Without thinking of which party they support . Pride, prejudice and arrogance would destroy this country . It does not matter who give the ideas listen to each other and do what is best for the health and economy . Covid is here to stay !! We are destroying the economy because we hate to listen and implement … when it does not come from …..

  15. Expat@17 says:

    Expat help to rebuilt the BVI after hurricane Irma, they stayed and work the way out while lots of belongers ran away to the US.
    Today those same belongers came back after the expats help to rebuilt and saying “we have COVID-19 send them home”.

    You all so ungrateful.

    • Doh says:

      The belonger only cares for himself. Under the guise of BVI first, religion, right wing nationalism, tinged with left wing socialist policies, the country is dooming itself into poverty and failure.

      Mark my words, BVI WILL NOT OPEN NOVEMBER 1. Because of the incompetence of I***t leadership, lack of dollars will cause economic hardship for everyone.

      Leave now if you have the chance.

      Like 3
      Dislike 1
  16. and how? says:

    How are the employers going to pay severance pay if there is no money to pay with? The insurance companies are not required to pay loss of business to the business owners in a Pandemic. The labour code needs to change! Severence pay should be excluded in an unpreventable catastrophe. It is unfair to the business owners. In this situation everyone shares a loss. The employer is not terminating the employees. They simply cannot employ when there is no or little business.

  17. fed up says:

    I need my money home and not working I need to be paid off I am ready to go to my country when things get back to normal I will return but for now I don’t want any more extension on my days again this is bull time to go I need my money please mr minister

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