Employment relations agency divided

The former Cayman Islands Department of Employment Relations is now represented by two new entities referred to as the Department of Labour and Pensions and the National Workforce Agency. 

Several human resource professionals, as well as business owners, gathered at the University College of the Cayman Islands last week for a presentation by Mario Ebanks, the director of the Department of Labour and Pensions. 

The participants were briefed Mr. Ebanks and others on the restructuring, as well as on matters relating to employee-employer relations. 

The department will focus on matters including complaints, occupational safety and health. It has also joined forces with the former National Pensions Office.  

The National Workforce Agency, the second half of the new entity, is more research driven and will focus on issues such as investigations, compliance, enforcement and training. 

The office for the new Department of Labour and Pensions is in the Midtown Plaza on Elgin Avenue. Mr. Ebanks noted that the agency’s location was due to the large amount of traffic fielded by the department. 

The director also discussed issues surrounding the Labour Law, such as the leave, remuneration, gratuities, severance pay, unfair dismissal and health and safety. 

“A lot of disputes can arise from having no contract in place, which is also actually a breach of the law,” said Mr. Ebanks, who also touched on expectations as they relate to regular hours of work, rate or remuneration and the intervals at which remuneration will be paid. He also warned of the casual employee dilemma when someone simply 
attaches themselves to a business and expects to
get paid. 

“If you have more than 10 employees, you will need to keep working accounts,” Mr. Ebanks said. He added that a rational minimum wage committee is looking into the feasibility of a minimum wage framework. 

Unfair dismissal, tribunal proceedings, severance and risk management – relating to human rights, social media, bullying and harassment – were also 
agenda topics. 

mario-ebanks

Department of Labour and Pensions Director Mario Ebanks talks to human resources professionals and business owners last week. – PHOTO: STUART WILSON
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