BVI News

Lay-off period extended by another 3 months


Amid widespread pleas from entrepreneurs across the territory, the government has added another three months to the lay-off period.

This means employers now have until January 31, 2021 to deliver severance packages to staff they’ve laid off.

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 decided to further extend the layoff period to October 31, as many businesses didn’t have the funds to pay severance packages. However, many entrepreneurs have pleaded for another extension, saying the tourism industry needs to be reopened in order for them to receive cash injection into their operations.

In response to these pleas, Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley said: “With the current pandemic in mind and the harsh realities being faced by both employees and employers, I have recommended and received the approval of Cabinet to extend the previously established lay-off period from 31st October, 2020 to 31st January, 2021.”

Minister Wheatley said the decision to further extend the lay-off period was hard to make, as he is mindful of the woes of workers who desire to remain under the same employer and BVI businesses who may not prefer or cannot afford to release and rehire workers.

“With this in mind, I would like to again remind employers to be considerate to their employees by notifying them of any changes to their employment agreement, and gaining their agreement to the changes, prior to contacting the Department of Labour & Workforce Development,” Wheatley said a recent statement on the matter.

He also reminded employees “to speak with employers about matters related to their continued lay-off status, where applicable, prior to visiting the Department of Labour & Workforce Development.”

Just last week, the BVI Chamber of Commerce & Hotel Association said some businesses will likely go bankrupt if they have to pay severance to workers who are currently laid off.

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  1. John says:

    immigration time need to extend too they want to fastrate the people so they look other jobs or they go home and then they they get nothing.

  2. Truth says:

    Honestly this is a tough situation either way but they can’t continue extending the lay-off period. I think they should have mandated partial packages. Have the employers put together 20-30% of the expected now and determine the rest later on.

  3. Check It Out says:

    Are you telling the employers that severance pay should be based on the precovid salary and not the reduce salary now being paid since covid.

  4. Hmmmm says:

    Everything is upside down! Businesses are on their last leg and to get a permit renewed or approved it’s like trying to get to Puerto Rico rowing in a dinghy! They are frustrating businesses and employees while publishing flyers everyday talking about BVI Love and that we are reopening. Reopening with what? With who? For what? For who? How?? Businesses have no capital to restart, to pay employees, some employees are stuck outside of the BVI and can’t get in, some are here in limbo because of so much red tape and miscommunication between labour and immigration. I know persons who have spent an entire week between departments and are still nowhere near what they are trying to do. Everywhere you turn, it’s a new form to fill out, talking about distancing but you have to line up everywhere and fill in a form. This place is shameful.

    Like 5
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    • @Hmmmm says:

      Show us where in the world right now things are different? The answer is no where. Every country is paddling to try to solve these issues. This Government isn’t perfect but they are handling these issues admirably.

  5. Clearly says:

    Clearly this is a dam if you do and dam if you don’t situation. I firmly believe the Government made the right choice.

  6. Tourists says:

    I’m on the outside looking in, hearing and seeing the cries of my friends in the bvi. This man Vincent is heartless in all his doings

  7. Tourists says:

    I’m on the outside looking in, hearing and seeing the cries of my friends in the bvi and the ones that are locked out. Come on bvi we are all humans, treat your fellow man as such. OMG

  8. VG tourism says:

    There will be minimal tourists visiting our shores this season.

    The protocols for them to enter as of December 1 are too arduous and very vague as well. To obtain any clarity on these protocols from the Government is next to impossible. It does not seem that anyone has any answers.

    Tourists wishing to come to support us are cancelling their December and January trips. Those who still have reservations are on the fence waiting for clarity on the protocols and quarantine restrictions.

    Our hope of any income from visitors is fading as each day passes.

    I do not believe the Government really understands the impact 8 months of zero income, while still paying some wages and overhead costs, has had on the tourism industry.

    This upcoming season was the light at the end of this very dark tunnel, and that light is nearly out.

  9. little too late says:

    This should have been done after the hurricanes when businesses couldn’t even begin to know how long it would be to rebuild and reopen. The labour laws need to be adjusted to disasters. There is no way employers can pay severance to an entire staff during and after disasters when their business is suffering due to circumstances beyond control.

  10. Voter says:

    It’s sad how Hon. Vincent don’t care about the people that voted for him.

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