Government aims to overhaul the territory’s Labour Law by the end of 2012, according to the head of the newly reorganised Cayman Islands labour and pension systems.
Labour and Pensions Director Mario Ebanks said his office will examine the law internally, then reach out to members of the business community and the wider public for their input.
“The Ministry of Education, Employment and Training is actually keen to comprehensively review the Labour Law, and in doing so we would certainly engage all the stakeholders, to insure that we have something in place that is not disruptive, but clarifies the rights and responsibilities of the employer and the employee,” Mr. Ebanks said Thursday during the Cayman Islands Society of Human Resources Professionals annual conference. “I think [Minister Rolston Anglin] is hoping we could have that passed with amendments in place by the end of this year 2012.”
Mr. Ebanks said changes to the law would depend on stakeholders’ suggestions, but could include recommendations from a 2007 consultant study by Samuel J. Goolsarran.
Some of the changes proposed by the Goolsarran report include allowing administrative fines for companies found to be in violation of the Labour Law, rather than all such matters being brought before the Labour Appeals Tribunal.
Another recommendation is shortening the maximum work week from 45 hours to 40 hours, after which overtime pay rates go into effect. The report also suggests eliminating a provision that allows employers to pay regular wages for overtime work to employees who sign a waiver agreeing to it.
The Goolsarran report also recommends adopting a minimum wage rate, though it does not specify what that rate should be. The current Labour Law enables Cabinet to establish a Minimum Wage Advisory Committee and prescribe a minimum wage rate for the territory.
“The minimum wage actually is being examined by another group.
Of course, the Labour Law has provisions for bringing it into force, but not for actually activating it in terms of what the minimum wage actually is,” Mr. Ebanks said.
In September, Cayman lawmakers approved a nonbinding private member’s motion by North Side Member of the Legislative Assembly Ezzard Miller to set the minimum wage at $5 per hour. At the time, Mr. Anglin said the government had been looking into the issue of a minimum wage for some time and planned to bring a bill before the Legislative Assembly during the House’s November 2011 sitting.
Most of the provisions of Cayman’s Bill of Rights come into effect 6 November, 2012. Mr. Ebanks said the review of the Labour Law will take that into account.
“There may be some areas that need to be tidied up. But in doing this review we will look at compliance or consistency with the Bill of Rights,” he said.