Labour Minister Vincent Wheatley has announced the official end of the extension for the ‘lay-off period’ and is instructing employers to begin paying severance to their staff immediately.
Wheatley made this declaration in the House of Assembly Wednesday afternoon, March 10 — roughly one year after the extension took effect.
“Employees are the most important asset of a business and compensation should be delayed no further,” the minister stated.
“I ask here today that employers make the necessary arrangements with employees to bring outstanding payments current,” he added.
For those who are unable to honour their full obligations to employees, Wheatley said they are required to visit the Department of Labour & Workforce Development to get assistance in developing plans to make outstanding payments.
He said these payment plans must be “mutually agreed” between employers and employees.
Persons can get assistance regarding severance payments by visiting the Labour Department in person or by contacting a Labour Relations Officer at 284-468-4739 OR 284-468-4713.
Persons can also reach out to the department via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Series of extensions
Back in June 2020, government extended 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.
The 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.
The date was then pushed to February 28, 2021.
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