BVI News

‘Lay-off period should end after December 1’, employers plead

File photo of the commercial district of Road Town.

As many businesses are still reeling from the effects of the territory-wide COVID-19 shutdown, some entrepreneurs on Jost Van Dyke have asked the government to extend the ‘layoff period’ to some time after December 1 when the BVI’s borders are set to officially reopen to visitors.

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 as many businesses found it difficult to come up with severance packages.

This seven-month extension period comes to an end on October 31. But at a community meeting held by the government on Jost Van Dyke, some employers said it made more  sense to extend the lay-off period to a date in December, as businesses are expected to have some amount of cash injection from the opening of the tourism industry.

The business owners say whatever business they get in December should allow them to put severance packages together.

“We’re not going to have 10 million people coming into the country … but whatever little, more or less will come in land-based or marine traffic, we are prepared to make it work. But as you said, businesses right now cannot afford to pay off people. So December 15, December 31st? Maybe we could find something there?” one entrepreneur asked.

In response, Minister Wheatley reiterated that the government has to satisfy both employers and employees when extending the lay-off period.

Gov’t has to consider employees too

“I have to consider the employees, too, who have been home, not working, not making any money,” Wheatley said.

He said the government is more in favour of extending the lay-off period to November 15 as that date is a ‘middle-ground’ for both employers and employees.

“Let’s find a balance, so the employees don’t feel slighted,” Wheatley said.

He also suggested that employers pay severance in instalments if single payments are too difficult to achieve.

“The other option is for persons who wish to sever, you don’t have to pay the persons all at one time. We could work out a reasonable time in which you could sever persons,” Wheatley said.

Wheatley didn’t give the government’s final decision on the matter.

Instead he settled the debate by saying, “I understand what you are saying so we’ll consider it and find a compromise somewhere in the middle.”

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13 Comments

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  1. Careful...... says:

    Government doesn’t give a damn about businesses here, especially hospitality related, you’re on your own. Blessings and good luck!

    Like 8
    Dislike 1
  2. Wicked says:

    Again selfishness
    All you ppl care about is y’all self, employee was supposed to get paid at the end of this month, but I guess most of those employees sure expats so who care about them.
    Social security not giving ppl any money the only publishing in the news that the give and its all lie some get some receive email that money was credited to there account and nothing was actually credited
    This is a plot to send home expats without any pay
    Keep up the good work god don’t sleep
    Seems like y’all forgot what hurricane Irma did
    Don’t be surprised if something worst than that come this time it will take everything from y’all

    Like 5
    Dislike 1
  3. Charnele says:

    Once again it’s seems like the employers will win. They asked for an extension from 3 to 7 months, now they want another one. What about the employees what do they get. If government continue to grant them extension they will continue to ask for it. There are some employers who can afford to pay severance but will not because it’s all about them, are they asking how their employees are doing or they don’t care.
    They should not be granted anymore extension.

    Like 9
    Dislike 1
  4. Reading says:

    @ Charnele – Agreed. No more extensions. Remember the employees.

    Like 2
    Dislike 1
  5. Tongue Fu says:

    I am an Employer who just terminated an employee with severance fully paid after a 3 month layoff that ended 15th October. Just did not see the need to prolong it until the 31st October as I think it is unconscionable as it is unjust. Lot of these Employers would have made monies when times were good so why is it that they cannot pay the severance? The severance they are paying is for the good times when their businesses were profitable which means it is either poor management or just plain wickedness. Minister Wheatley should not even be entertaining this request but he is a Politician and he knows who he must impress.

    Oh btw the Employee was not laid off or terminated due to Covid just because of poor work ethic.

    Like 7
    Dislike 1
    • Work permit managers says:

      Managers on work Permit that makes schedule are victimizing nationals and belongers…. Wilfully keep them off the schedule. Like a hate or some kind of envy , Never like the idea of having Work permit managers. They hate locals and victimized them… That’s a fact and need addressing….

      Like 2
      Dislike 2
  6. WOW says:

    Middle-ground Middle-ground, this is the most bull s**t i ever hear in my life. Come on, people waiting pass the usual 3 months up to now 7 months and now more extension, foolishness foolishness. Is time for a change.

    Like 4
    Dislike 1
    • bull says:

      I will like my servence pay please this is a big mess work place not paying my tax social security.nhi nothing I need to be paid off thank you

  7. Got it wrong.. says:

    All workers should return especially those that don’t need work permit..

  8. bull says:

    can I get my money please I am fed up I can buy I cannot afford to pay my bills this is ridiculous

  9. bull says:

    I will like my servence pay please this is a big mess work place not paying my tax social security.nhi nothing I need to be paid off thank you

  10. Expat says:

    But a lot of the laid off workers are not getting anything from the covid relief funds from social security. Why are you guys talking about that. Lots of people with years of service and contributed for years are getting O. We do not even know if we are qualified or not. How hard is it for the employees of Social Security to tell us something about our application after it has been submitted months now?

  11. redstorm says:

    It is unbelievable, that some businesses would ask for more time to get the employees severance. Each month the employee earns a specific amount of days, that money should be allotted to an account and not used to pay the business bills, managers bonus, or supplementing something else. When a business has to do this, it is a clear sign they are not sure of how to manage a business. This red flag tells the owners that it is time to close, go back to the drawing board, or take some management classes. Two principles should be high on the business owners checklist. First, the business ethics, which allow the golden rule to be the yardstick ” do unto others as you will have them do to you” Second, time management is essential, Do all the big stuff, and the little ones will fall in place. If you do not take care of your employees, it won’t be long before you are out of business, as no one wants a stickler for a boss.

    It is heartless, they are not paying the SS, NHI, and the Tax. Now they do not have the money to pay the severance and have to hustle to make up some money to pay. Man give us a break, we have been waiting a long time. The bills have piled up and the creditors are calling.

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