Page 1

In this Edition:

2015 Edition

Rayside Construction Ltd. BUILDS STRONG with the BEC & Competency Based Education


Do you wish to experience learning in new ways? Come sign up for Competency Based Education with the Barbados Employers' Confederation. The BEC has 35 free open spots for training in Management and Occupational Health and Safety.

We look forward to hearing from you! Distribution of spaces is on a first come - first placed basis. Interested persons should contact the Secretariat at 435 4753 or nvq@barbadosemployers.com.

Braemar Court, Deighton Road, Brittons Hill, P.O. Box 33B, St. Michael T: (246) 435-4753 or 271-5257/58 | F: (246) 435-2907 becon@barbadosemployers.com | barbadosemployers.com


Welcome Message From Dagmar Walter, Deputy Director, Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean, International Labour Organisation On the Occasion of the Publication of the Second Edition of “Barbados Employment Compass”

O

n behalf of the International Labour Organization’s Office for the Englishand Dutch-speaking Caribbean, I am pleased to be associated with this second publication of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation’s journal EmploymentCompass. As was remarked upon by the Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Senator Dr. the Honourable Esther Byer Suckoo in her welcoming comments to the first edition, the title of the publication is indeed apt. In this ever-changing world we live in, a compass is vital to guide us on our journey. And nowhere is a guide more necessary than in determining the right path through the maze that employer/employee relations often presents us with. Information is of course an essential tool in helping employers effectively manage all aspects of their business. But in this digital age we are sometimes victims of information overload, making it difficult to distinguish the relevant from the irrelevant. The Employment Compass by identifying issues of concern to employers and their employees, presenting material on the topics in a clear and concise way that is easily understandable and able to be practically applied, is providing a valuable service to the employer community in Barbados and beyond to the rest of the Caribbean. The ILO in the work that it does with its tripartite constituents strives to widen horizons. We have as our core mandate the need to oversee and assist with the implementation of the ILO’s fundamental Conventions relating to the freedom to associate and the right to bargain collectively along with the elimination of child labour, forced labour and discrimination in support of the notion of decent work for all. But we also have a mandate to keep our constituents informed of emerging trends in the world of work and to identify issues that will likely impact on job security and growth. In Barbados the ILO has worked with the tripartite partners in supporting the development of an enabling environment for sustainable enterprises. We recognise that if enterprises are not viable, if there is too much bureaucracy and red tape that strangles rather than supports businesses – especially small and micro businesses – then there will be fewer opportunities for employment. We are taking a lead amongst agencies in the Caribbean in the fight against informality; recognising that employees in the informal sector are poorly covered or reached by legislative protections, that the prices of goods and services of employers in the formal sector are widely undercut, and that governments do not receive the tax intake necessary to provide the health care, education, infrastructure and administrative functions expected by the community. We continue to focus on the effects climate change will have on small island developing states. Given the increased number and severity of extreme weather conditions, businesses need to be resilient by having proper preparedness plans in place. The “greening” of economies and enterprises is a notion that needs to be entrenched in all countries to avert the worst impacts of these changes. I see the Employment Compass as an ideal vehicle to assist in widening horizons. I commend the Barbados Employers’ Confederation for the work that has gone into this publication and wish it every success.

Dagmar Walter Deputy Director, ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean

BEC Employment Compass 2015

1


EDITOR’S LETTER & CREDITS

EMPLOYMENT Journal of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation

In this Edition:

Rayside Construction Ltd. buiLds stRong with the bEC & Competency based Education

2015 edition Publisher Miller Publishing Co. Ltd. Editor Sheena Mayers-Granville

2015 Edition

Advertising Sales Nia Vlahakis - nia@businessbarbados.com

BEC_EmploymentCompass_2015.indd 1

I

On our Cover: Curtis Rayside, Sales Manager and Bently Martindale, Workshop Foreman, of Rayside Construction Ltd., participants in the company’s recent Competency Based Education & Training Programme 8/7/15 11:07 AM

t has been said that the only constant in life is change. This saying is also applicable when we examine the labour market which has seen noticeable changes to the employment relations landscape over the past year. The emphasis on competency based education and training, as well as the first sitting of the Employment Rights Tribunal, all speak to changes in the way people and businesses interface in the employment realm. For the second edition of Employment Compass we have focused on bringing to life these changes in the industrial relations landscape in Barbados. We have once again compiled well written articles, court reports and statistics which we believe will be informative to the busy professional, student preparing to enter the field as well as seasoned practitioners and specialists. While looking forward to this issue we reflected on the inaugural edition of the Employment Compass which was widely received. The feedback, from you our readers, confirmed that the Journal fills a gap in providing targeted and valuable information for professionals. Because of you, we launched the Caribbean Employment Compass, a digital edition, which has an expanded focus as it seeks to build bridges between our brothers and sisters across the Caribbean region. The first issue, released in May 2015 is appropriately titled HR & the Bottom Line, where the focus is people management’s impact on company profitability. You can expect another edition later this year. The Barbados Employers’ Confederation as part of its mission and vision, is committed to the dissemination of pertinent and thought provoking information. I trust that this edition will contribute to realising the goal of Making Good Employers Better. With warmest thanks,

PrePress Assistant Lyn Armstrong Design and Layout Tao Howard Cover photographer

Junior Morgan, themorGanMEdia assisted by

Noelle Farnum concept, design & layout Tao Howard Nia Vlahakis Press Cole’s Printery

Employment Compass is an initiative of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation

Edgehill, St. Thomas, Barbados, W.I. T: (246) 421 6700 | F: (246) 421 6707 miller@caribsurf.com MyDestination.com/Barbados ©2015 Miller Publishing Co. Ltd. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced in any form without the prior written permission of the publisher.

Sheena Mayers-Granville, Editor Human Resources Manager, Unicomer (Barbados) Limited Former BEC Labour Management Advisor

2

BEC Employment Compass 2015

While every care has been taken in the compilation of information contained in this guide, such information is subject to change without notice. The publishers accept no responsibility for such changes.


ABOUT THE BEC

About Us

Braemar Court, Deighton Road, Brittons Hill, P.O. Box 33B, St. Michael T: (246) 435-4753 or 271-5257/58 | F: (246) 435-2907 becon@barbadosemployers.com | barbadosemployers.com

Follow Us f t i

Check out the CARIBBEAN Employment Compass Th The he newest addition addition resources to o the BEC’s library of resour rces for Caribbean HR Professionals and Managers is now available online! Download this eCommentary on aking HR and the Bottom Line, with groundbreaking PMG Barbados research from our sponsor KPMG at barbadosemployers.com. ployerrs.com.

barbadosemployers @becbusiness Barbados Employers’ Confederation

WHAT IS THE BEC? Barbados Employers’ Confederation (BEC), founded in 1956, is a membership based private sector organisation that seeks to represent its members on an array of issues. These issues include Industrial Relations, Human Resource Management and Occupational Health and Safety. We also keep our employers abreast of current trends via our publications, open forums and numerous training programmes year round. OUR SERVICES Industrial Relations | Human Resource Management | Training | Research | Advocacy MISSION The Barbados Employers’ Confederation promotes and maintains harmony in the employment relationship by being the employers’ primary advocate and advisor assisting in the amicable settlement of disputes, as well as facilitating social dialogue. Our wealth of expertise and research capacity, allow us to provide targeted, proactive solutions. VISION The Barbados Employers’ Confederation will emerge as the membership organization of choice, promoting the viability and success of local and regional businesses through the provision of high quality and professional human resource and industrial relations solutions.

The BEC by Numbers (as at June 8, 2015)

209 Member Companies 21,852 Employees Covered 59(from years in operation July 31, 1956) 8 Staff Members

Read the ebook at issuu.com/ CaribbeanEmploymentCompass/ docs/cec_2015

• 1 Executive Director • 2 Labour Management Advisors • 1 Research/Occupational Health & Safety Coordinator • 1 Caribbean Vocational Qualification Coordinator • 1 Secretary/Treasurer • 1 Administrative Assistant • 1 Receptionist

BEC Employment Compass

3


CONTENTS & BEC CALENDAR SECTION

TABLE OF CONTENTS

˰ Annual General Meeting - May 2015 ˱ (L-R) Hon. Dr. Esther Byer-Suckoo sharing a light moment with Tony Walcott and Ian Gooding-Edghill

Welcome Letter from the International Labour Organisation Editor’s Letter About the BEC Help! I’ve Never Dealt with This Before! The Human Element

1 2 3 5 13

NOTHING Surprises Me... I Work in HR! 13 Statistics 27 Test Your Recall 32 Feature Articles The Right Banking System Can Save You Time and Money 10 From Good to Great 12 HR Management Information: The Basis for Prevention 6 Understanding Employers’ Liability 8

Tony Walcott - Exec. Director of the BEC, Yvonne Cheltenham - Secretary/Treasurer of the BEC, Ian Gooding-Edghill - President of the BEC Council, Margaret Estwick - 1st VP of the BEC Council, Lisa Ridley-Paul - 2nd VP of the BEC Council

BEC TRAINING & OPEN FORUM SCHEDULE 2015 SEP

8

Training Programme: Writing for Managing People 1/2 day | $300/$250*

10

Training Programme: Art of Communication 1/2 day | $300/$250*

28-30 Training Programme: Managing for Success 3 days | Member $750/$700* | Non-member $950/$900*

OCT

Thrusting ahead with Competency Based Education - A Case Study featuring Rayside Construction Ltd. 14 CVQs and Labour Mobility 18 Viewing Employee Turnover Through Different Lenses 19 Industrial Relations The Labour Department Its Emergence, Its Function, Its Goal 20 Small Island, International Reach 22

13

Training Programme: Recruiting and Retaining the Best Talent 1/2 day | $300/$250*

Navigating Conflicts of Interest 23

15

Training Programme: Building Emotional Intelligence 1/2 day | $300/$250*

Law & Guidance Three Examples of Uncertainty Vis-à-Vis the Employment Rights Act 24

29

Training Programme: Managing in a Trade Union Environment 1/2 day | $300/$250*

*denotes early registration fee. To be eligible, the registration form and

payment must be received one week prior to the scheduled programme date.

For our 2016 calendar visit barbadosemployers.com or email: becon@barbadosemployers.com

4

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing 9

BEC Employment Compass 2015

Statistics 27 Suspension 28 Summary Dismissal Under the ERA 30 Court Report: Wrongful Dismissal 31


1

Query Can I carry over vacation to the next year?

Response Company practice

Help! I’ve Never Dealt with This Before!

2

differs regarding if/how many unused vacation days may be carried into a subsequent year. From a strictly legislative position, section 3(6) of the Holidays with Pay Act, Cap. 348 prima facie appears to promote the full annual utilisation of holiday when it states “The annual holiday shall be given by the employer and shall be taken by the employee before the expiration of 6 months after the date upon which the right to such holiday, accrues: but the giving and taking of the whole or any separate period of such holiday may, with the consent in writing of the Chief Labour Officer, be further postponed for a period to be specified by him in any case where he is of the opinion that circumstances render such postponement necessary or desirable.”

Query I have just been told that

Query When Independence Day

Response By custom and practice

Response The business would

one of my employees has been placed on remand. Can I deem this as job abandonment?

3

in Barbados, abandonment represents wilful refusal to report for duty without just cause for more than three (3) days. An employer is entitled to summarily dismiss an employee who is deemed after reasonable enquiries to have abandoned his/her job: Wayne Wood v Caribbean Label Crafts Ltd (Magisterial Appeal No. 11 of 2001). Therefore, under the circumstances it might be quite difficult to argue that the employee’s inability to report to duty as a result of being on remand constitutes a wilful refusal to report for duty without just cause. However the contract may be frustrated and therefore ended due to a prolonged absence.

falls on a Sunday, must I pay special rate for the Sunday and Monday?

only pay the rate related to public holidays under its Collective Labour Agreement [or contract if no such Agreement] for work done on Monday December 1st because that is the public holiday when November 30th falls on a Sunday. Persons working on November 30th would be paid at whatever rate is applicable for working a normal Sunday shift, unless the employee had been called in off roster and thus entitled to the agreed premium: section 3(1) of and First Schedule to the Public Holidays Act.

BEC Employment Compass 2015

5


OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HEALTH

Human esource Management

Information

The Basis For Prevention Melony James, BSC - Research/OSH Coordinator, BEC melony@barbadosemployers.com

Accidents in organisations are generally viewed as a negative occurrence everyone wants to forget and wished never happened. However, this article instructs organisations on ways to positively use accident statistics to prevent future incidents.

W

hether a company is into retail, construction, manufacturing, or tourism marketing, today’s managers face greater intricacies than before. Running a business on instinct no longer suffices and can possibly lead to breaches of various pieces of legislation. Statistics provide managers with more confidence and allows for informed decisions. In safety and health, information provides the underlying pillar for most decisions. Without looking back, the journey forward can be repetition of bad mistakes, across a different landscape, in hopes of something better. In essence, if a company does not know the cause of its mistakes, how can the business aim for fewer accidents? In spite of the flood of available information across the web, successful managers need the information peculiar to their company in order to make well informed decisions and design policies which provide the level of health, safety and security their staff needs. The theme for the 2015 ILO World Safety Day (April 28th) was “Join in building a culture of prevention on Occupational Safety and Health”. This reminds employers and employees of the importance of safety in the workplace and its impact on the reduction in accidents. A national occupational safety and health culture is one in which the right to a safe and healthy working environment is respected at all levels, where governments, employers and workers actively participate in securing a safe and healthy working

6

BEC Employment Compass 2015

environment through a system of defined rights, responsibilities and duties, and where the highest priority is accorded to the principle of prevention (ILO, 2015). A national shift in the safety culture from reactive management (cleaning up after something happens) to proactive management (putting controls in place to avoid the accidents) is the way forward towards a culture of prevention in Barbados. The steps for realising this culture shift include 1. An increase in positive safety cognition (the beliefs, attitudes and values of nationals), 2. An increase in positive safety decisions (rituals, habits and plans by organisations), and 3. A decrease in risky behaviour. To establish a national positive safety culture a country needs to have a basic understanding of what is currently happening and what has happened before. This is where national statistical compilation is imperative. Illustrated below is the Cycle for Creating a Positive Safety Culture.

1.

>> This is the future for workforce analytics – the idea of 2 ‘return on human capital’ or ‘profit per employee’.

PERSON Knowledge, Skills, Abilities, Intelligence, Motives, Attitude, Personality

SAFETY CULTURE

3.

2.

BEHAVIOUR

WORKPLACE

(all levels) Leading by example, following procedures, complying with standards, using PPE, locking out power, coaching, etc, SAFETY Culture

Systems, Procedures, Standards, Equipment, Machinery, Climate, Housekeeping, Effluent Control

Achieving world-class SHEQ performance requires continuous attention in three dimensions.

Fig. 1 - The Cycle for Creating a Positive Safety Culture


Human esource Management To reactively prevent future accidents and create a culture of awareness an organisation needs to conduct a root cause analysis. Once one have found the root cause this information is shared and persons are instructed on ways to work safely. Additionally, previous statistics on occupational accidents and illness form a benchmark for monitoring improvements and completing the process of safety management. However, it should never be the aim of an organisation to only implement policies after something goes wrong. Proactive management is the best way to increase safety awareness and foster a culture of prevention. It is the belief in the safety and health profession that the vast majority of accidents are preventable. How to prevent them? The answer simply is, know your status and make plans to move forward. Where do statistics and prior information and knowledge fit into the scheme of things when managing safety and health to prevent accidents. Occupational injuries and illnesses statistics are important to an accident prevention program as it highlights areas in the company most in need of adjustments. It forms the basis of safety seminars and training sessions, which can lead to significant savings in insurance costs (Ohio Monthly Labour Review: 1981). Statistics have the ability to: • Cause you to focus on the bigger picture – it removes personal biases; • Provide support for judgements – it provides the evidence needed for decision making especially those which include finances; • Assist with making connections – correlation analysis evaluates root causes and the requisite negative effect; and • Ensure performance – it provides the means to measure and control processes to minimise accidents. We have established the importance of statistics but how does an organisation implement a system where statistics lead to prevention. Below is the Health and Safety Statistical Cycle for Prevention which outlines the steps needed to ensure the presentation of accidents. Some of the common statistics to track include: • Location of the accident • Type of Accident • Classification (serious or minor etc.) • Name of the parties involved • Immediate Cause • Root Cause While prevention seems like a farfetched ideal, working towards prevention creates the positive safety environment in which all employees and management personnel desire to work. Statistics, while the compilation may be tedious, provide the best bedrock for any safety management system. Let’s all work on our zero accident benchmark today!! ■

OCCUPATIONAL SAFETY & HEALTH

Fig. 2 Health and Safety 25 Statistical Cycle for Prevention

The Accident

Root Cause Analysis

33 Record of Statistics

Implement Controls

Set Goals and Targets for Monitoring

Prevention

IT HAPPENED • Ask why five times • Analyze and record: - the root cause - basic causes (organisational/personal) - immediate causes (substandard conditions/ acts/practices) • Record the following: - who was injured - injury sustained - result classification - location

• Decipher the control measure combination to be used • Allocate persons to oversee the execution and completion of the control measures • Set SMART goals to be achieved in the short, medium and long term • Ensure that benchmark percentage reductions are noted for each term • Decide on a review period, review team and review technique

IT CAN HAPPEN

5Things You Should know About the NIS ⎷ Every person over the age of 16 and under pensionable age who is gainfully employed in Barbados must be insured under the Act. ⎷ Employers are required by law to pay contributions on behalf of their employees. ⎷ Contributions should be paid by the 15th of the month following the month for which they were deducted. ⎷ Pensioners can have their pensions lodged to a bank account and receive the benefit for a four-week period instead of cheques which are issued at two week intervals. ⎷ The NIS offers a free online service where employers can submit earnings; persons can track their benefits, change their addresses, and estimate their pensions.

BEC Employment Compass 2015

7


EMPLOYER PROTECTION

Human esource Management

Understanding

Employers’ Liability Cheryl St. Hill - Assistant Vice President, Underwriting, Sagicor General Insurance Inc. | Tel: 1-246-467-7669

In collaboration with Marguerite Estwick – Executive Vice President, Human Resources, Sagicor Life Inc

The importance of Employers’ Liability insurance has been underscored by the change in the legislative framework in Barbados, especially the Safety and Health at Work Act. Not only are employers liable for accidents and incidents but for omissions and wrongful acts. Employers are reminded to always act with a duty of care.

F

our “million dollar” questions arise in any discussion on Employers’ Liability:

1) Do I really need Employers’ Liability insurance? 2) What is an employer liable for? 3) How much Employers’ Liability insurance do I need? 4) How can an employer minimize that risk? While it is not compulsory in Barbados to have an insurance policy for Employers’ Liability, it is recommended, as employers are legally liable under the Safety and Health at Work Act (SHAW) for the health and safety of their employees during the course of their work. This duty of care is set out in four categories: a) A duty to provide safe tools; b) A duty to provide a safe place of work; c) A duty to provide a safe system and methods of work; d) A duty to select properly skilled fellow employees. An employer may therefore be liable for any accident, injury or diseases that could be ascribed to his or her failure to fulfill the duty of care. This liability may also extend to wrongful acts or omissions of employees in several circumstances that are not only limited to accidents and injuries as a result of unsafe practices, but may also include other actions by employees in the workplace such as discrimination and harassment.

8

BEC Employment Compass 2015

The following represent some examples of liability: 1) Employers are vicariously liable for accidents and diseases that may result from unsafe work practices. 2) Employers are vicariously liable for the wrongful acts of employees committed in the course of their employment including accidents and other wrong actions like discrimination, bullying, violent actions and other forms of harassment towards other employees. 3) Employers are directly liable for their own negligence through hiring, training or supervising employees. Note that employers will not be held vicariously liable for the wrongful acts of an independent contractor. In addition to their employees, employers may also be liable for injury to the following special classes of persons in the workplace: • Students who work for you and are not paid by you • People who are not employed by your organization but are taking part in a youth or adult training programme. An Employers’ Liability insurance policy, valid for a year, will pay compensation to an employee in the insured’s immediate service who sustains bodily injury or illness during the period of insurance and arising out of the course of his/her employment. Compensation is specific to judgments obtained from a court of competent jurisdiction within the geographical area declared and agreed with the Insurer.

When negotiating insurance cover, the cost relates to the nature/type of business, category of work, number of workers and an estimate of the annual wages and salaries including allowances for fuel, food, living quarters and other considerations in kind. Your HR Department can help you minimize the risk of vicarious liability: 1) Consider your hiring and on boarding policies and procedures 2) Consider your employee policies and operating procedures 3) Consider your training policies and programmes 4) Consider your premises and maintenance programs: To minimize the risk of liability for the wrongful act of an agent, the following measures may be useful: a) Always obtain references that are meticulously verified when contemplating engaging an agent. Conduct criminal record checks on prospective agents, especially if the agent will be required to handle money, or be in contact with minors or other vulnerable clients. b) Always ensure that the agent understands the limits of his or her authority c) Always take steps to ensure that those dealing with the agent are aware of the scope of the agent’s authority d) Be alert to situations in which third parties may reasonably assume that an agent acts on your behalf and clarify the arrangement. ■


Human esource Management

RECRUITMENT

The Pros and Cons of Outsourcing HRMAB

info@hrmab.org.bb HRMAB is an organization geared towards helping members adopt Human Resource best practices and guaranteeing that they gain exposure to indispensable HR information.

O

utsourcing is a business strategy that transfers some of an organisation’s functions, processes and activities to external providers or experts. There has been a growing trend over past years for companies to base their business plan around outsourcing to experts. This change has become so significant, that some experts refer to it as ‘the new business model’. Another aspect of outsourcing is referred to as ‘offshoring’. When local telecommunications providers decided to relocate their call centres to other countries in the region and Central America, these were prime examples of offshoring. Other popular choices for outsourcing, in effect in Barbados for many years, are janitorial services and security services which are performed by third party agencies. Human resource functions that are generally outsourced include recruitment and selection - particularly for executive level positions - payroll and group medical administration, employee assistance and counselling. THE DECISION TO OUTSOURCE Companies may choose the outsourcing option for a variety of reasons, the major reason being a shortage of resources. Any decision to outsource must be evaluated carefully, as the option offers advantages as well as risks. Let’s examine these in some more detail below. THE PROS OF OUTSOURCING Cost Savings The most obvious and visible benefit relates to the cost savings that may be gained from outsourcing. Outsourcing can remove several layers of costs, which impact the bottom line positively, particularly in companies without large amounts of dispensable cash. Increased Efficiency/Competitive Advantage When you outsource your business needs, experts bring a wealth of experience and knowledge to deliver on projects. This leads to increased efficiency and allows your company to focus on core competencies and strategies for becoming more competitive in the marketplace. Once management time is unencumbered with routine administrative tasks, there is greater opportunity to focus on building your brand, investing in research and providing innovative products and services for new and existing customers. Lower Infrastructure Investments In our current environment, having cutting edge technology to interface with customers and suppliers is critical to success in business. Customer service call centres and helpdesks and state-of-the-art technological systems are now standard requirements which require heavy investments from companies. Outsourcing these functions allows you to avoid the costs and logistics associated with establishing these functions internally. Enhanced Risk Management Business continuity is an often-overlooked area for many businesses, many of which do not have the resources or time to dedicate to this type of planning and readiness. Having an external provider deliver solutions and mechanisms for disaster recovery from natural disasters, technical catastrophes and market changes allows you to improve your response time and resume normal business as soon as possible.

THE CONS OF OUTSOURCING Loss of Control When a task is outsourced, responsibility for efficient performance of the function is assumed by the service provider. There could however be the risk of losing that due dilligence often associated with an employee who is versed in and loyal to your mission or vision. Additional Costs Once the service contract is agreed upon, any additional services required but not covered in the contract details may result in additional costs. One such additional cost could be incurred if the organisation decides to seek a legal opinion to renegotiatie the contract to add an additional function or service. Confidentiality Depending on the nature of the contract, there may be risks to the confidentiality of information being handled by a third party. Inclusion of a penalty clause in the service contract may assist in mitigating this. Low Employee Morale Offshoring may contribute to challenges for the organization if it occurs as a result of downsizing. In such instances the company may face negative publicity, or lowered employee morale. Outsourcing is a viable business strategy once approached from an informed position. Like any business decision there are potential benefits to be reaped and pitfalls to avoid. When considering outsourcing as an option, managers should enter into arrangements with reputable providers regarding performance and delivery and whose terms and conditions are conducive to productive and successful business relationships. ■ BEC Employment Compass 2015

9


The ight Banking System Can Save You Time and Money

Beverley E. Norville, MBA, Senior Manager (Ag.), Retail Banking & Central Services, First Citizens Bank Barbados Ltd.

R

unning a business can be one of the most exciting experiences for entrepreneurs and business owners. The process of outlining a vision for the company and working with others to realise that vision can be exhilarating, rewarding and yes, sometimes even scary. Fortunately, the process can be made just a bit easier by having the right banking resources on your side. For example, in the process of employee salary lodgement, it is important that payments are made in a timely manner. As the owner of any growing business can attest, this can be more complex than it sounds. There are several variations in the way salaries are paid; some weekly, bi-weekly and most on a monthly basis. The main options of cash and cheque payment may have high administrative and risk related implications for the business owner. As a business owner, if you are thinking that there must be an easier way to make salary lodgements, you are right. There is an easier way. The right banking partner can assist you in this regard, making life a whole lot simpler. One of the easiest ways to simplify payment options for employees is to use a direct deposit system where salaries are automatically deposited into employees’ bank accounts. Since the entire system is automated, the direct deposit system can easily conform to your company’s employee payment structure where the company controls the loading of the payment files for direct deposit. By automating your employee payment process, your business can save a significant amount of time and money which can now be invested into other areas. When considering a bank for your needs, you will want to consider one that: • Understands that the needs of its business customers can vary based on their industry and based on the stage of development of the business. • Understands that an entrepreneurial venture may have different needs than those of a regional enterprise. The direct salary lodgement solution is one that should be considered even at the startup stage of your business. We encourage you to develop a strong working relationship with your banker and be open to ideas, advice and suggestions that he/she may have.

10 BEC Employment Compass 2015

>> One of the easiest ways to simplify payment options for employees is to use a direct deposit system where salaries are automatically deposited into employees’ bank accounts. Since the entire system is automated, the direct deposit system can easily conform to your company’s employee payment structure where the company controls the loading of the payment files for direct deposit. By automating your employee payment process, your business can save a significant amount of time and money which can now be invested into other areas.


(L-R): Frances Parravicino -VP Credit, Consolidated Finance Co., Marlon Yarde- CEO Barbados Stock Exchange, Richard Mark- Founder/ Chariman R.L. Mark & Company Limited, Ronald Davis- Managing Director Globe Finance Inc., Derrick Cummins - Interim CEO J&T Bank and Trust, Joanna Robinson- Manager Ernst & Young, Dr. Grenville Phillips - Chairman, Barbados Stock Exchange, Alison Dillon Kibirige CCGI Faculty, Dr. Axel Kravazkty-Chairman, CCGI at the launch of CCGI Chartered Director Programme in Barbados

From Good to Great

Excerpt from Lakhan-Narace, R (2015, 1 May), “From Good to Great.. Creating the Caribbean’s First Chartered Director Program.” https://caribbeangovernance.org/blog/3323587

F

amous for its literary luminaries such as Derek Walcott and V.S. Naipaul and world renowned athletes like Brian Lara and Usain Bolt, the Caribbean is an international power-house of talent and potential. With a population of over 40 million, a strategic geographical location, and stable political climate, it has in the past been a magnet for foreign investment. However, over recent years, with the advent of globalization and other emerging markets and the financial crisis, the region has seen a lot of pressure on their small economies leaving both the private and state sectors no alternative but to focus on diversification, competitiveness and the development of new and stronger markets. In order to continue to attract foreign investors, and build strategic alliances, the Caribbean must quickly respond to the escalating attention on Corporate Governance as a prerequisite for those relationships to prosper. From Enron, to Lehman Brothers, to CLICO, Board of Directors are being held increasingly accountable for responsible leadership; and are under constant scrutiny by all stakeholders. More than ever, it is essential that Directors and Senior Executives have the relevant knowledge and capacity to perform effectively in this new environment. Currently, the level of Corporate Governance disclosure in the Caribbean does not meet international best practice compared to other emerging markets and as such there is an urgent need to provide capacity building and training to Directors and Officers of both private and public sectors. To this end, the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI) was formed and for the last three years, it has been working assiduously to fill this key gap in the region. As a registered institution with the Accrediation Council of Trinidad and Tobago (ACTT), the Institute has successfully developed a world-class educational programme, with an internationally recognized faculty, that focuses on strengthening Corporate Governance leadership through Master Classes, and it’s featured Chartered Director Program. Additionally, the CCGI, with a current membership of over 160 individuals and organizations with presence in Trinidad and Tobago, Barbados, Jamaica, St. Lucia,

12 BEC Employment Compass 2015

British Virgin Islands, provides forums for networking as well as for research, best practice standard development, discussions and education on the latest issues that impact the business environment. CCGI is inviting current and aspiring directors, board officers such as Corporate Secretary, COO or CFO in the public sector, private sector or family business, regulators, investors, media and academics to join CCGI and become part of the movement to create stronger firms, stronger markets, and stronger economies in the Caribbean. ■

>> . . . to attract foreign investors, and build strategic alliances, the Caribbean must quickly respond to the escalating attention on Corporate Governance For more information about the Caribbean Corporate Governance Institute (CCGI) visit our website at www.caribbeangovernance.org. info@caribbeangovernance.org facebook.com/caribbeangovernanceinstitute Twitter.com/CCGInstitute


THE

Human Element Marguerite Estwick

Executive Vice President - Human Resources, Sagicor Life Inc. since November 2012

I started my career: as a part time teller at Scotiabank. I‘m most proud of: the times I have represented Barbados in an official capacity. I regret that: we have not yet reached the point where as a region we truly believe and invest in our human resources to move us forward, but continue to rely on international “experts” while we lose our good brains to the more developed nations. You would never guess: that banking was never a considered career for me as I had always planned to be a pilot. Banking just happened and took over. I hope to: see the day when as a region we harness and leverage our true potential, skills and talents as Caribbean people and become acknowledged leaders and trail blazers on international stages versus followers and consumers.

Lisa Maria Ridley Paul

Group Human Resources Manager, Banks Holdings Ltd since February 1, 2007

I started my career: with the Royal Bank of Canada in Grenada posting daily transactions to customer accounts. I‘m most proud of: my daughters’ courage, character and achievements, the most recent is the birth of my Grandson - Kaizen. I regret that: I have so little time to see the world, to meet new people and experience new cultures, to discuss and pursue new ideas, and most of all, to spend with family and friends. You would never guess: I enjoy just being at home, puttering in my garden and most of all entertaining family and friends. I hope to: continue to make a contribution both at the corporate level and the national level through the BEC on the labour management issues that reestablish our global competitiveness.

Glyne Harrison

C.E.O. First Citizens Bank (Barbados) Limited since 2013 I started my career: doing odd jobs and summer jobs. My parents encouraged me to earn (and save!) pocket money. I‘m most proud of: constantly trying to set a good example – as a devoted, and highlyprincipled working mother - for my two young children. I regret that: No regrets! I’m a planner by nature and even though I can be spontaneous about the day to day activities, the big life events - in my control - have been well thought through. No regrets… You would never guess: I love Bruce Lee Kung Fu movies. “Enter the Dragon”? A classic. I hope to: achieve that elusive work/life balance! As time goes by, I become increasingly conscious of how fleeting and precious life is. At its end I want to trust that I would have lived my personal version of “the best life”.

Nothing Surprises Me

I Work in HR! True HR stories from Barbadian businesses She’s got some balls! A candidate arrived for an interview displaying a tattoo of male genitals on her neck and refused to cover it!

Gunning for dismissal An HR manager convened a meeting to discuss disciplinary matters, the charged employee arrived and discussed all matters calmly until being informed of the reprimand; suspension without pay. The employee proceeded to threaten to shoot all parties in the meeting, spat on the table and stormed out!

BEC Employment Compass 2015

13


Curtis Rayside of Rayside Construction Ltd. receives Competency-Based Training Fund award for Cycle 2 of programme from Hon. Dr. Esther Suckoo

ayside Construction:

Building Strong with Competency Based Education - A Case Study Brittany Brathwaite, BSc - Labour Management Advisor, BEC brittany@barbadosemployers.com

Training and development (primarily technical and vocational training) is often underutilized and under-valued by organizations. This article explores the case of Rayside Construction Ltd., the strategic decision to utilize Competency Based Education and Training (CBET) and the company-wide benefits derived from its implementation. 14 BEC Employment Compass 2015


Human esource Management

RAYSIDE CONSTRUCTION & CBET

W

hether we call it Human employability of the workforce. Competence Resources, Human Capital is a broader concept than skill, embracing or People Management, the abilities of individuals to apply and what is obvious is that adapt their knowledge, understanding and investment in people, your employees, in a skills in a particular occupation and a given strategic manner can energise your business. working environment. It aims to bridge the Utilizing training and development as an gaps between knowledge acquired in formal investment strategy can not only offer education and that learnt on the job, a longshort term rewards but has the potential of standing but now ever more acute problem. thrusting an organization forward with a This type of training can directly competitive advantage. connect theoretical concepts with the There are few companies who have technical and soft-skills employers worldencapsulated training and development in wide have been demanding in a rapidly their strategic plans during the economic changing technological age; an era in downturn however; with the launch of which it is necessary for workers to be able the Competency Based Training Fund to continuously function effectively and (CBTF) Rayside Construction Ltd. realized competitively in the work-place. With sixty a prime opportunity to do the same. (60) employees scheduled to benefit from What fundamentally differed under CBTF this type training Rayside Construction Ltd was its focus on the type of certification is a prime example of how management being offered upon completion of the and business owners are seeking or can training programs, National Vocational seek to utilize N/CVQ’s to thrust their Qualifications and Caribbean Vocational organizations forward. Qualifications. These National and Caribbean occupational standards which form the The Process! basis of the qualifications, offer assessment With Rayside Construction, a subsidiary components; thus, they have the potential of C. L Financial Group as a member of to fill the gaps of practical/on the job the BEC for many years, and the BEC as ineptitude, a vehement complaint of an approved NVQ Centre, the marriage of employers in and around the region. the two organisations seemed an easy and Prior to the information sharing efforts obvious one. of the Technical and Vocational Education The planning process for the training began and Training (TVET) Council under in early 2014, it was noted by Mr. Harewood, the World Skills program, Barbadians HR Manager, that “after carefully analyzing were not fully aware of the benefits these the inefficiencies across departments, qualifications offered; a general lack of management identified knowledge and skill interest to pursue certifications of this gaps in both Occupational Safety and type was also promulgated by a cultural Health and supervisory soft skills; as a perception that vocational qualificationsRAYSIDE result CO. of LTD.the number of safety and health SUBSET: were for low skilled employees. These idealsTRAINING related issues as well as, personnel issues RATIO OF TO WOMEN are being quickly eroded however, as their MENarising. ” Specific examples included, the importance have been recognized not just number of unreported accidents on work 13:1 nationally or regionally but internationally. sites being extremely high and the lack of 93% male The International Labour Organization compliance with 7%legislated female procedures in (ILO) identified the delivery of education the administration of personnel issues. An and training through competency-based important consideration in choosing CBET education and training (CBET), quality training was the varying knowledge and assurance management of TVET, inclusive skill levels across the organization, it was of vocational education and training as a therefore essential to utilize a model which priority area in bolstering economic growth could be applied to all levels of workers. within the Caribbean Community. In collaboration with the focal point at the New thinking about how people learn has training centre, namely Ms. Melony James been used to adapt education and training of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, systems and improve the competencies and the management of Rayside examined

RAYSIDE CO. LTD. TRAINING SUBSET: RATIO OF MEN TO WOMEN

13:1

93% male 7% female

>> An important consideration in choosing CBET training was the varying knowledge and skill levels across the organization, it was therefore essential to utilize a model which could be applied to all levels of workers.

3

TOP LEVEL MANAGEMENT

8 MIDDLE MANAGEMENT

3

LINE STAFF

Top Level: Blowers Quarry Manager, Sales Manager, Senior Civil Engineer Middle Management: Electrical Supervisor, Construction Supervisor, Quantity Surveying Technician, Dispatcher, Inventory Control Supervisor, Cement Plant Supervisor, Workshop Foreman x 2, Line Staff: Technical Clerk, Artisan (Carpentry and Masonry), Sales Representative

BEC Employment Compass 2015

15


RAYSIDE CONSTRUCTION & CBET

the modules of the Safety and Health Level 2 occupational standard as well as Management Level 2 to ensure they could cover the identified gaps. The mandatory modules in addition to the electives were found to be comprehensive enough not only to fill the existing knowledge and skill gaps but offer additional skills to the employees being trained. This step was particularly important, as identifying specified knowledge gaps most often lends to the apt selection of the needed type of vocational training. With almost fifty occupational standards available for use, it is key that companies carefully and objectively evaluate the skills necessary for employees, rather than choose a one size fits all type of training program. Realizing the need to be able to assist in the beneficial process, management staff inclusive of Mr. Harewood, successfully completed the CBET program Assessment Level 4 prior to the approval of the

organizations training grant. This was not only a clear signal of the commitment of Rayside to the project regardless of the funding outcome but, the obvious execution of a strategic plan which prioritized vocational training from the top down. When questioned about why Rayside chose vocational training over other forms of certification Mr. Padmore, Construction Manager, noted that the company had previously invested in training interventions which ultimately still left gaps as employees were not applying the theory appropriately. Therefore, after Mr. Harewood explained how that the programme allows each learner to have the opportunity to develop and to be evaluated on the competencies achieved, he eagerly consented. It was noted by both Mr. Harewood and Mr. Padmore that some staff members were concerned about their ability to successfully complete the training, as many had basic or no certifications and had not

Human esource Management undergone formal training in many years. The way in which CBET is delivered and assessed aided in the erosion of these fears however, and with some employees having already completed a certification they were able to testify to the following, “The assessment of one’s competency is not based on the knowledge of the subject area alone, but on the demonstration of such competency in a real working situation. The occupational standards will form the basis on which the learners will be assessed, and the learner should be informed about it. Learners progress through the programme only by demonstrating the attainment of specified competencies. In essence, this form of learning is only effective if each learner is given an equal opportunity to gain the kind of instruction to meet their need at a level they are at.” The levels at which the qualifications are pitched offers an even greater possibility for all categories of workers to undergo training. There are five levels and the National Qualifications Framework (Fig. 1) clarifies how these varying levels compare to other types of certifications.

>> The assessment of one’s competency is not based on the knowledge of the subject area alone, but on the demonstration of such . . . in a real working situation

L-R: Neville Wright, Roland Grant and Peter Morris of Rayside Construction Ltd. undergoing training by Brittany Brathwaite of the Barbados Employment Confederation

16 BEC Employment Compass 2015

A further consideration for management was time needed to complete the programs: four teaching hours a week for six weeks as well as extended time for assessments to be completed. Mr. Harewood noted that extending the time to employees though logistically challenging, was prioritized and justified, by clearly establishing from the inception the benefits which were expected to be attained from the training. He further noted “Continuously communicating with all levels of staff was important, not only to emphasize the need for the type of training but to ensure buy-in from all persons prior to its commencement. The planning of training schedules and work schedules took a lot of effort but we expect it will be more than worth it!” ■


Human esource Management

RAYSIDE CONSTRUCTION & CBET

Fig. 1: The National Qualifications Framework (draft)

O

ver the past few years, newer game-changing technologies with the significant potential to transform the construction industry into one more innovative and productive have emerged.

It was therefore strategically imperative that Management of Rayside Construction Ltd (RCL) provided employees with the tools to attain higher professional competency levels so as to achieve greater heights in construction productivity, while simultaneously permitting the company to have greater flexibility in deploying its multi-skilled workers on-site. This target-based approach which embraces a cross-section of both technical and administrative employees, from Civil Engineers to Masons, is designed to develop a competent and competitive workforce. RCL Management recognizes that learning takes place in a variety of situations and circumstances and that many employees have significant, demonstrable learning from experiences outside the traditional academic environment. This training has ensured that the company builds a pool of workers who are competent in multiple construction trades. In addition, the cross departmental training, as administered by the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, has filled skill gaps and assisted in enhancing the quality of the company’s products and services, as well as customer service delivery at every customer touch point.

from the desk of the

HR Manager,

rayside construction ltd .

Herbert Harewood


RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION

Human esource Management

CVQs and Labour Mobility Shanika Best, CVQ Coordinator, BEC shanika@barbadosemployers.com

A

s 2015 comes to a close and 2016 quickly approaches, the point of employment and qualifications continues to be one of incessant discussion. The Unemployment Rate in Barbados averaged 10.69 percent from 2008 until 2014, reaching an all-time high of 13.20 percent in the second quarter of 2014 from a record low of 7.60 percent in the fourth quarter of 2008, as reported by the Central Bank of Barbados. We see painted here a clear picture of why employment and qualifications have become what we would deem a “big” deal for discussion. Recently however, an evident picture has come to the forefront; with the efforts of the Caribbean Competency Based Fund as well as the Employment Training Fund, employers and training centres alike have made it their business to introduce a new era of hope, this hope being CVQs. The funds from the above mentioned, allow for employers and training centres to provide CVQ certification at a lower financial cost to the public and organizations.

What are CVQs and NVQs? By now you must be asking - What are CVQs? CVQ is an acronym for Caribbean Vocational Qualification; work based qualifications achieved through training and assessment which certifies that you are competent to do a particular job. They exist in technical areas e.g. Management, Occupational Safety and Health and Human Resources Management to name a few. CVQs are designed for you to gain, improve and hone specific skills and knowledge needed to do a job. They are based on occupational standards which define the competencies, best practice and understanding needed in a given occupation. Labour Mobility Labour Mobility has to do with the movement of workers between countries, especially Caricom countries. It is an example of a Caricom factor movement. The free movement of skills initiative originated in the 1989 Grand Anse declaration. Having gone through a few iterations, currently the definition of categories for free movement of skills include Graduates who have at least a Bachelor’s degree; media persons; artistes; nurses; teachers; sportspersons and artisans with a Caribbean Vocational Qualification. Now within the region there is an opportunity where, with CVQ certificates, skills and qualifications persons have a better chance of securing a job anywhere in the Caribbean. CVQs therefore erase one impediment for Labour Mobility across the Caribbean, as one distinct quality of CVQs is transferable skills. The increased relevance of CVQs will not halt the incessant discussion of employment and qualifications, nor will it end the debates on regional migration, however it will change the basis of many discussions to come. Discussions will no longer be just employment and qualifications but employment, qualifications, CVQs and Labour Mobility.. ■

Checklist for Hiring a New Employee Before hiring new employees: • Identify vacancy and evaluate the needs of the business: Proper planning will lead to hiring the right fit for the job. • Develop a clear job description identifying duties and responsibilities required. • Develop a carefully structured recruitment plan mapping out strategy for attracting and hiring the best candidate. • Select an evaluation team who will have direct and indirect interaction with the applicant in the course of their job. • Research and familiarise yourself with labour legislation as it relates to all employees • Collect compensation data and decide on a minimum and maximum wage for the post • Draft a contract of employment

18 BEC Employment Compass 2015

Once an employee is contracted: • Issue a copy of the company handbook and policies to the employee • Schedule orientation with Human Resources and key players with the employee • Establish access to appropriate computing resources and electronic files • Make provision for access to the building (issue keys or new swipe badge) • Establish phone extension • Establish company email • Inform other staff of employees arrival • Arrange business cards as necessary • Review job schedule and hours • Review payroll timing • Make sure appropriate income tax and benefit forms are prepared


RECRUITMENT AND RETENTION

Viewing Employee Turnover Through Different Lenses Cathy Norville-Rochester, BSc. MA. D.Arts Human Resources Advisor, HRi Inc.

What is turnover and when do you know when you have gotten the best from an outgoing employee? While downsizing and restructuring, organisations can lose some of their best abilities and skills with outgoing employees. HRM professionals while considering the cost and quality of the hire, must ensure transferability of knowledge, abilities and skills.

D

efining Employee Turnover Employee turnover refers to all the persons exiting a company, either on a voluntary or involuntary basis, during a defined period with reference to those who remain. The Chartered Institute of Personnel and Development (CIPD) refers to this as ‘crude turnover’. It is possible to explore turnover with reference to different categories of persons who exit, more specifically those who leave as a result of resignations. Understanding their reasons for leaving allows the company to plan and effectively implement retention strategies. Understanding Successful Employment It is necessary for Human Resource Practitioners in working with turnover statistics to define ‘successful employment’ for the various positions in their companies. Successful employment seeks to determine if the company achieved the return on investment with reference to the employees’ contribution. This will differ based on employees’ positions; however, if they leave after the period of successful employment; whilst it would impact the organisation due to the loss of a skilled and knowledgeable resource, that recruitment was successful. Employee Turnover & Organisational Realignment The economic recession globally has seen a reduction in voluntary turnover and it is no different for us here in Barbados. What we must be more concerned with is the skills shortages that could result

from organizational realignments. Our local newspapers for the past five (5) years carried headlines of organisations who are seeking to reduce their operating expenses, which almost always results in some form of employee realignment and/or downsizing. Companies in conducting their realignment often focus on the ‘Hard HRM’ - the numbers, the percentage of the wage bill that needs to be reduced - at times forgetting the ‘Soft HRM’ - what skills, knowledge and abilities the company will need to retain as it seeks to remain competitive. CIPD supports this view and they argue that in reviewing the employee turnover information; seek to identify what skills are being lost due to the downsizing programme, so that effective measures can be put in place to ensure that the organisation has the required skills to succeed. Can Downsizing Be Right? If organizational realignment is not executed in a strategic manner, what most companies achieve is a reduced headcount with a smaller wage bill. These same companies also experience a correlating reduction in organizational performance resulting from loss of skilled persons, and maybe the eventual exits of high performers, as organizational morale is impacted by a poorly executed organizational realignment strategy.

>> Successful employment seeks to determine if the Company achieved the return on investment with reference to the employees’ contribution. Downsizing and realignment turnover must be effectively planned to avoid these negative side effects on the business. CISCO Systems Inc., an American based technology Company is an example of ‘downsizing right’. In 2008, CISCO implemented employment downsizing only as a last resort, after deploying several other alternatives. The new, measured approach was more consistent with CISCO’s long-term talent-management strategy of building internal talent rather than buying it in the external labor market. Cascio (2010) writing on CISCO noted that it adopted new strategies that required them to pursue different products or services. The new strategies require making employees with obsolete skill sets redundant that cannot be retrained, and recruiting employees with new skills to implement the revised business strategy. In such cases, downsizing makes sense. Employee turnover is more than just crunching numbers but it is utilizing all the information about those leaving either voluntary or involuntary in a strategic manner. CISCO demonstrates any downsizing programme should not be just about the headcount but truly right-fitting the organisation to move forward. ■

BEC Employment Compass 2015

19


From left: Colin Walcott – Executive Director, Barbados Empoyers’ Confederation, Rt. Hon. Dr. Esther Byer – Minister of Labour, Social Security and Human Resource Development, Peter Earle - Chairman of National Advisory Council on Occupational Safety and Health (NACOSH), Dennis de Peiza - General Secretary, Congress of Trade Unions and Staff Associations (CTUSAB ), Victor Felix – Deputy Chief Labour Officer

The Labour Department

Its Emergence, Its Function, Its Goal Melony James, BSC - Research/OSH Coordinator, BEC melony@barbadosemployers.com

The struggles of the early labour movement can now be seen in the working conditions and benefits many Barbadians enjoy today. This however, does not indicate that the journey is over, but it indicates that with much effort and dedication much can be achieved.

20 BEC Employment Compass 2015


NATIONAL DEVELOPMENT

K

arl Marx in a letter to his father penned these words in 1837: “If we have chosen the position in life in which we can most of all work for mankind, no burdens can bow us down, because they are sacrifices for the benefit of all; then we shall experience no petty, limited, selfish joy, but our happiness will belong to millions, our deeds will live on quietly but perpetually at work, and over our ashes will be shed the hot tears of noble people”. This epitomises the work of the early stalwarts in the labour movement. It was a fight for better working relationships, better working conditions and ultimately a better way of life for all. The 1930’s period in Caribbean history was characterised by a wave of protests, strikes and disturbances. This wave of activity signaled to Britain the need for assistance in creating an atmosphere conducive to productivity on the various plantations across the Caribbean. The British Government stated that the “Royal Commission’s visit to the Islands would have a good psychological effect in these Colonies”. Today the labour department coupled with the activities of the trade unions, provide the same effect for employees across Barbados. Out of the West Indian Commission of 1938 came the emergence of the Labour Department in 1940 and the registration of the Barbados Workers’ Union in 1941 as well as the fundamental elements for modern industrial relations which include the: • right to freedom of Association, • freedom to bargain collectively, • processes of trade union recognition, and • freedom to engage in peaceful picketing. Over the years the Labour Department under the Ministry of Labour continued to grow in strength with the legal backing commended to it by various pieces of legislation. Citizens grew to appreciate and value the authority of the Department and its main mandate was to ensure a cohesive industrial relations system on the island. The major function of the Labour Department is to provide conciliation services and assist in the resolution of grievances and disputes when the primary and secondary parties fail to reach an agreement at a domestic level. Further, the Labour Department Act, Cap 23 broadens the mandate to

encapsulate the enforcement of labour legislation and monitoring of occupational safety and health standards. Respect and workplace safety were two important subjects emerging from the Commission’s report. Therefore, it was only fitting that the creation of the Labour Department would facilitate fair employment, promote mutual respect and workplace safety and health. The department is governed by the Chief Labour Officer whose functions are to receive and investigate all representations made to him/her with a view to settle disputes and grievances by way of conciliation or mediation. Some may beg to reason that the Labour Department is almost like a toothless animal in that its only course of action is to defer matters to another, whether the recent Employment Tribunal or the Minister of Labour or a court of Law. However, the maintenance of harmony is more than providing punishments and granting requests but the ability to understand the issues and bring both parties to a mutual agreement; this is the strength of the department.

>> the maintenance of harmony is more than providing punishments and granting requests but the ability to understand the issues . . . The continued enhancement of the industrial relations climate in Barbados was assisted by the advent of employer representation through the establishment of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation in 1956 and most importantly the creation of the Social Partnership in the 1990’s. These avenues allowed for greater equilibrium in industrial relations as the employees had a representative voice and so too did the employers. From the 1990s the tripartite form of the Social Partnership allowed the Government of Barbados to understand the needs of both employees and employers while giving these parties a chance to understand and assist with economic and social challenges. What characterises labour relations in the 21st century? Despite the many differences employers and employees may experience, the right to collective bargaining and the

right to manage as covered by Protocol VI allow for widespread harmony in the industrial relations system. With the social protocols established, custom and practice, the proclamation of the Employment Rights Act and the Occupational Safety and Health Act, and the standards as set out in collective agreements, the players in the Barbadian labour market grew to understand and respect the rights and responsibilities of all parties. This harmony however, has been underpinned by the role of the Labour Department to advise the government with regard to the betterment of industrial relations and all labour matters; as well as to ensure the due enforcement of the Acts as required. Playing the role of an unbiased party the Department is the balancing pin in this system, ensuring that all parties obtain fairness and respect. The Officers have the power of entry which enables them to inspect and examine work premises to ensure that legal provisions are being observed. The further sub-division of the department allows for execution of task in an efficient manner. These are: • Industrial Relations With responsibility for labour inspection and industrial relations; • Occupational Safety and Health With responsibility for occupational health and safety; • The National Employment Bureau With responsibility for the provision of local and overseas employment services. Henrietta Newton Martin once said, “Success in an enterprise can be brought about, through effective leadership, which produces open communication, which in turn would contribute towards bringing down conflict levels, thus leading to higher productivity and distinguished gains, which in turn testifies about the healthy corporate culture of an organization.” If we were to adopt this quote as a guiding principle for the needed continuance of industrial relations harmony in Barbados, the Labour Department, the various unions and the employers’ representatives will need to communicate openly and respect the authority of each party which can encourage greater productivity which stems from positive workplace cultures. ■

BEC Employment Compass 2015

21


SOCIAL PARTNERSHIP

Industrial elations

Small Island,

International each Sheena Mayers-Granville, Bsc, Msc HR Manager, Unicomer (Barbados) Ltd.

Barbadians often boast of the quality of its citizens. This article features the strides Barbados, a small island developing nation, has made in international industrial relations through the inputs of Mr. Colin Anthony Walcott.

1

66 square miles isn’t very large, especially when you consider our neighbour Jamaica is 4,244 square miles and the United Kingdom is 94,058. 275,000 people isn’t a large population; in fact that’s a small town in some countries; Trinidad has over 1 million people. Yet despite its small size, Barbados has been and continues to be influential in the international arena. It is well documented and noted that Barbados is recognised for its excellent employment relations climate. When it comes to labour management relations Barbados has always been a beacon highlighting the benefits of a successful social partnership. Each partner has an important role to play including the Barbados Employers’ Confederation which is recognised by the International Labour Organisation as the representative body for employers in Barbados. However while we may or may not know of Barbados’ international reputation, I’m certain that the individual accomplishments of our citizens often go unknown. When it comes to Industrial Relations, Barbados not only sets an example but also influences policies. The present Executive Director of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, Mr. Anthony Walcott is a testament that small islands can make big impacts on the international stage. Currently Mr. Walcott holds the posts of: • Deputy Member of the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation • Member of the ACP-EU follow up Committee; Group 1 – Employers • Deputy Member of the ILO-ITC Board of Directors • Director of Caribbean Employer Confederation • Member of the NIS Severance Payments Tribunal • Member of the CXC National Committee Very often it appears as though only larger countries have a voice on the world stage. However Mr. Walcott’s diverse appointments clearly showcase that small islands can and do represent their constituents in various arenas. His appointment on the Governing Body of the International Labour Organisation and the International Training Centre of the ILO, affords him the opportunity to influence policy and directives of this unique engine of the United Nations. What actions should be taken to combat rising youth unemployment? How to respond to the increasing informal economy? Does precarious employment exist? These are some of the areas under active consideration by the conference and governing body. Additionally, the ACP-EU Follow-Up committee, of which Mr. Walcott is an active member, meets on a regular basis and is responsible for organising the various activities of the economic and social interest groups, and is a primary partner of the political authorities in the Partnership and the European Commission. In the legacy of Errol Barrow “We will not regard any great power as necessarily right in a given dispute unless we are convinced of this, yet at the same time we will not view the great powers with perennial suspicion merely on account of their size, their wealth, or their nuclear potential. We will be friends of all, satellites of none.” ■

22 BEC Employment Compass 2015

>> The present Executive Director of the Barbados Employers’ Confederation, Mr. Anthony Walcott is a testament that small islands can make big impacts on the international stage.


CORPORATE ETHICS

Industrial elations

Navigating Conflicts of Interest Brittany Brathwaite, BSc - Labour Management Advisor, BEC brittany@barbadosemployers.com

Loyalty has long been an implied term of any contract, expected from both parties. With the rapidly changing nature of work however, one fundamental tenant of loyalty; namely conflicts of interest, have had to be addressed explicitly. We explore below some of the considerations and proactive steps companies can take to mitigate challenges under this concept.

T

he employee who runs his own business, directly competing with his employer, or the manager of a retail store who buys supplies from a relative at an escalated price, are both clear examples of ethical misconduct where the interest of the company is not paramount. What about a more complex situation? For example, in an interview an employee shares information about your activities or plans as the current employer with the potential employer. The employee is hired based on this revelation and it results in your company losing valuable business. It is obvious that there was an ethical breach but could someone no longer under your employ be held liable for this breach? Was the situation preventable? Conflicts of interest occur within most work environments. They are defined as any circumstance, relation or arrangement whether intentional or accidental, that presently does or might in the future, serve to tempt a person to pursue or promote interests contrary to those of the persons’ employer. Of course this definition could describe a plethora of situations and there are in fact endless circumstances which could characterize a conflict of interest. What is important is that both employers and employees understand the concepts underlying conflicts of interest and are cognizant of actions that could surmount to this behavior. Further, employers must be proactive rather than reactive in addressing the issues as they arise.

Loyalty is an implied promise by employee to employer and where it can be proven that this implied term has been breached an employer may have grounds to seek recourse; the onus will of course be on the employer to prove that the breach did in fact occur. Where a breach of this nature is proven whilst the employee is still employed with the organization, it could be grounds for termination, subject to the adherence of internal and legislated disciplinary procedures.

>> Loyalty is an implied promise by employee to employer and where it can be proven that this implied term has been breached an employer may have grounds to seek recourse; the onus will of course be on the employer to prove that the breach did in fact occur.

How then can companies be proactive in preventing conflict of interest breaches? Including explicit and sometimes detailed non-compete and conflict of interest clauses within contracts of employment or requisite policy documents is the first step. Written terms and conditions are the soundest preventative barriers. Though they may not in every case prevent the behavior from occurring, they do provide a solid basis

on which employers can proceed with terminations and/or seek legal recourse where the need arises. The more sensitive an organization’s information the more detailed the clauses may need to be. It is also important to take into consideration the role and the nature of the employee’s job. For example, an employee supplying customer quotes and interfacing with the majority of your customer base, is essentially aware of some of the most confidential information within your organization. These types of considerations should be a guide in shaping the content of conflict of interest clauses and may also determine how stringent an employer may need to be. On this point, it is noteworthy to mention that some employers have recognized the need to offer some flexibility to their employees. Organizations have policies which allow for the operation of businesses and/or the delivery of services within the same sector, subject to approval from management. This type of hybrid clause or policy is totally discretionary and may in some instances promulgate a culture of trust and even greater commitment between employer and employee. However, one caution is that this practice may necessitate a lot more policing than strict policies. Conflicts of interest, actual or perceived can cause great harm to a company’s finances and/or reputation. Considerable care and attention should be given to avoiding and preventing conflicts of interest, and to appropriately addressing them should they arise. ■

BEC Employment Compass 2015

23


Photo: Tatiana Vdb via Flickr.com

Three Examples of Uncertainty Vis-Ă -Vis the

Employment Rights Act

Calvin Husbands, Bsc, Msc, LLB - Labour Management Advisor, BEC calvin@barbadosemployers.com

Since the proclamation of the Employment Rights Act Barbadian organisations have been amending company policies to meet the requirements as stipulated by the Act. While the Act was created to make labour relations fair and equitable, for some it has caused great confusion. This article seeks to highlight some of the grey areas faced by organisations daily when trying to comply with the Act.

24 BEC Employment Compass 2015


Law & Guidance

RESEARCH & ADVICE

T

he following practical examples of uncertainty faced by employers while interpreting the Employment Rights Act were presented at a panel discussion convened by the Barbados Employers’ Confederation.

BE FRUITFUL AND MULTIPLY Under section 3(3)(b) of the Employment of Women (Maternity Leave) Act, a pregnant employee is only entitled to three (3) confinements. However, section 6(1)(c) of the Employment of Women (Maternity Leave) Act prescribes that an employee shall not be dismissed or forced to resign due to her pregnancy; and section 30(1)(c)(x) of the Employment Rights Act provides that it shall be automatically deemed as unfair to dismiss a an employee on the basis of her pregnancy. The question that then arises is – What can an employer do when a pregnant employment seeks maternity leave but has had more than three (3) pregnancies? • One option is for the employer to authorise no pay leave, which allows the female employee to be prima facie assured that her employment will resume after her pregnancy. • There is another school of thought that since the employer is no longer obliged to provide maternity leave, if the female employee does not report to work for more than three (3) consecutive days that she will be deemed to have abandoned her job. The touted rationale is that even though section 6(1)(c) of the Employment of Women (Maternity Leave) Act prescribes that a female employee shall not be dismissed due to her pregnancy, section 6(2)(a) provides that a pregnant employee may be dismissed where “there has been serious default or gross negligence amounting to abandonment of duty on the part of an employee”. However, one has to wonder how such an approach can be used while complying with the judicial position that reasonable inquiry should be made by an employer to ascertain that an employee has willingly absented himself/herself for three or more consecutive days before deeming job abandonment: Wayne Wood v Caribbean Label Crafts Ltd (Magisterial Appeal No. 11 of 2001).

AH GONE BOSS MAN. NOT SO FAST BUDDY! Section 22 of the Employment Rights Act prescribes the periods of notice of dismissal and notice of resignation that must be given by employers and employees respectively. Under section 22(4)&(6) of the said Act, an employee is required to give his employer a specified amount of notice of resignation unless said notice is waived by agreement between the employer and the employee. However, only the employee has any redress under the legislation for a breach of the required notice: section 24 of the Employment Rights Act. The question that then arises is – What can an employer do where an employee provides inadequate notice of resignation? • One school of thought is to seek to eliminate or reduce the temporal shortfall by letting the employee take any outstanding vacation; but if such is not possible simply pay any exit monies due to the employee. The rationale for such action is the avoidance of further conflict and/or legal fees to pursue the debt. One prospective shortcoming of this approach is that if the employee does not willingly choose to take any outstanding vacation, the employer is faced with the predicament that even though section 3(7) of the Holiday wit Pay Act entitles an employer to “... determine the date on which the annual holiday shall commence...” it also requires that the employer “... shall give to the employee not less than 14 days’ notice of such date”. • Another school of thought is to set off the temporal shortfall against the employee’s exit monies. However the possible challenge is that if wages constitute the exit monies, it is arguable under sections 8 and 9 of the Protection of Wages Act that inadequate notice does not

>> One school of thought is to seek to eliminate or reduce the temporal shortfall by letting the employee take any outstanding vacation; but if such is not possible simply pay any exit monies due to the employee. The rationale for such action is the avoidance of further conflict and/or legal fees to pursue the debt.

BEC Employment Compass 2015

25


RESEARCH & ADVICE

Law & Guidance

fall into the permissible category of wage deductions “... in respect of any fine or for bad or negligent work or for injury to the materials or other property of the employer ... occasioned by the wilful misconduct or neglect of the worker”. Additionally, if the cash equivalent for outstanding vacation constitutes the exit monies, it is arguable that the set off breaches the employee’s right to payment for outstanding vacation upon resignation (and dismissal) under section 6 of the Holidays with Pay Act. • Another school of thought is to pursue the temporal shortfall as debt in court. While the Canadian case of GasTOPS Ltd. v. Forsyth 2012 ONCA 134 reveals that an employer may be awarded damages for an employee’s provision of inadequate notice; the employer should also consider the possible associated costs and that the employee might be a ‘man of straw’ against whom you merely have a ‘paper judgment’. • Another school of thought is to make an arrangement with the employee to pay for the shortfall. The downside of such moral suasion is that the employee might renege on his/her promise. If the employee has willingly chosen to provide inadequate notice, the possibility of non-adherence to his/her promise could arguably be significant. • Another school of thought is to create a contractual clause along the lines of “If you choose to voluntarily terminate your employment with the Company, you are required to give ‘X’ notice in accordance with the Employment Rights Act, 2012 – 9. If you do not give the required notice, the Company reserves the right to deduct the appropriate period of salary from any payments due and owing to you”. However, the employer might still find that the ‘payments due and owing’ might be inadequate to cover the shortfall in notice of resignation. The aforementioned examples of uncertainty regarding the options available to employers who face certain practical challenges in their labour management activities, suggest that until regulations are passed by the legislature and/or related rulings emanate from the Employment Rights Tribunal, your guess on the best approaches to be adopted might be as good as mine. CAN YOU HEAR ME NOW? Under section 14 of the Employment Rights Act, a Statement of Particulars shall reference the organisation’s disciplinary rules, which should include a reference to the Standard Disciplinary Procedures found at Part B of the Fourth Schedule to said Act. The requirement for the progressive application of discipline and the employee’s right

Economic Indicators for Barbados Consumer Price Index It is a measure of changes in the purchasing power of a currency and the rate of inflation. The consumer price index expresses the current prices of a basket of goods and services in terms of the prices during the same period in a previous year, to show effect of inflation on purchasing power. Currently, the base year is 1984. Retail Price Index The retail price index, or the RPI, shows the changes in the cost of living. It reflects the movement of prices in a range of goods and services used regularly, and items considered most important to us, such as housing and food, are given a higher weighting.

26 BEC Employment Compass 2015

to natural justice are embodied in Parts A-C of the Fourth Schedule; while section 29(4)&(5) of the said Employment Rights Act necessitates that a dismissal should be substantively and procedurally fair. The question that then arises is – Are disciplinary hearings required from verbal warnings to dismissal? • The practice that has taken root in industrial relations in Barbados is that disciplinary hearings are only obligatory in circumstances that are likely to warrant the imposition of a final written warning, a suspension or a dismissal. • There is another school of thought that disciplinary hearings are obligatory prior to every form of discipline, that is whether a verbal warning, a written warning, a suspension or a dismissal. The rationale for this position is that Step 2(1)(a) of Part B of the Fourth Schedule to the Employment Rights Act provides that “The meeting must take place before disciplinary action is taken…” and that no particular limitation is place on ‘disciplinary action’. While the aforementioned perspective has some merit when using a strictly literal interpretation of the legislation. I wonder if the practical ramification of the time, administrative effort and costs associated with such widespread use of disciplinary hearings is a reasonable imposition to be placed upon employers and/or if such were intended by the legislature. ■

INDICATOR

2013

2014

2015

Gross Domestic Product (GDP)

$8.4 billion (est)

$ 8.44 billion (est)

$8 billion (est)

Consumer Price Index (CPI) at Jan of each year

158.795 points

166.5 points

168.3 points

Retail Price Index at Jan of each year

164.3 points

166.5 points

171.1 points

Inflation

1.8%

1.7%

1.9%

Gross Domestic Product The monetary value of all the finished goods and services produced within a country’s borders in a specific time period, though GDP is usually calculated on an annual basis.

Inflation Rate The rate at which the general level of prices for goods and services is rising, and, subsequently, purchasing power is falling.


2013

STATISTICS

00 1000 1200 1400

0

Trends in Layoffs and Work Stoppages

600

2014

400 161

0

2013

24

Jan-Jun

Jul-Dec

0

200

Due to Government’s retrenchment process, the number of persons laid off or terminated during the Jan–Jun period of 2014 sky-rocketed to almost eight (8) times that in 2013 from 161 Advertisements to 1274. The Jul–Dec period was Job 160 significantly lower than in 2013 moving from 849 to 24. 47 2013 2014

120 160 100 140 80 120 60 100 40 80 20 60 0

40 20

Feb

Mar

Job Advertisements

Feb

Mar

Apr

Jul

Aug Sep

Oct

May Jun

Jul

Aug Sep

1000 800 600

849

Layoffs

161

Jul-D

47

28

2013

Job Advertisements

Number of Requests

2013 2014

150

1274

1200

0 The number of Job Advertisements for the Jan-Jun chosen categories recorded constant numbers throughout the two (2) years. However, there an increase of over 20 ads within five Permits Nov Dec Work was (5) categories for 2014.

2014

250

0

Job Advertisements 400 by Month and Category 200 Layoffs

Nov Dec

Oct

Job Advertisements

2013 2014

200

1400

Number of Requests

May Jun

Statistics The BEC tracks trends by monitoring various media: newspapers, online publications, partner websites as well as utilizing information supplied by our members. Statistics here were compiled from these sources.

100 250 50 200 0 150 C le on ric al st ru ct io n G Fi en na er nc al e W or k H os er pi ta lit In y fo .T ec h Le M g an ag al em en t M ed ic Su al pe rv is or Sa le s O & t M her Sn ar r. ke M tin an g ag em e Te nt ch ni ca l

100

C

50

r et in g em en t ch ni ca l

th e

r O

so

vi

al

er

ic

t

ed

en

l

em

Le ga

y

Te ch

o.

lit

r

ta

ke

pi

or

an ce

io n

in

ru ct

ic a

l

0

le r

16

28

2013

Apr

200

47 Layoffs

2014

0 Jan

800 1000 1200 1400

Work Permits

2013 2014

Jan

600

Number of Employees

rk

Number of Ads Number of Ads

140

400

Number of Employees

2013

849

800

800 1000 1200 1400

Work stoppages in 2014 increased to five (5) times that in 2013, from 254 to 1321. This increase was due1400 mainly to non1200 payment wages and employees 1000 supporting 800 colleagues who were dismissed. 600 400

2014

1000

200

600

Work Stoppages

1274

1200

400

Years

Number of Employees

1400

200

Number of Employees

Layoffs

Number of AdsNumber of Ads

mits

Law & Guidance

Number of Employees

mployees

BEC Employment Compass 2015

27


LAW & ADVICE

Law & Guidance

Suspension Guidance Note issued by the BEC

S

uspension typically forms part of the progressive disciplinary process in an organisation. Suspension is a mechanism that employers utilise which results in cessation of the employee’s execution of his/her usual work for a definite period of time. Suspension is usually utilised by employers for one of two reasons (1) to reprimand an employee for his wrong doings, or (2) to conduct investigations into a matter allegedly involving the employee. An organization with a policy framework for handling discipline may reference suspension as a disciplinary response to a specific offence. However, with the advent of the Employment Rights Act the punitive form of suspension shall be preceded by other actions; namely a disciplinary hearing. Documenting each step of the disciplinary process helps protect your business from lawsuits and other complications. This briefing note seeks to give employers clarity on the types of suspension and what would warrant such suspensions. CONSIDERATIONS There are two types of suspensions: • Preventative suspension - a period of cessation from work, which is utilised when an alleged breach of discipline and/or performance standards is being investigated against an employee. This mechanism may be chosen where the employer wants to remove the potential compromise of the investigations by the presence of the employee in his/her substantive post in the period between the launch of the investigation into the alleged act(s) and/or omission(s) and a decision regarding whether or not to invoke the disciplinary hearing process. The employee will receive full compensation for such periods. • Punitive suspension - a period of cessation from work, without pay, which is imposed on the employee as a disciplinary measure emanating from a disciplinary hearing. PREVENTATIVE SUSPENSION It is important for the employer or his representative to consider the following before placing an employee on preventative suspension. In the South African case Mogothle v Premier of the North West Province & another [2009] 4 BLLR 331 (LC) the below requirements were highlighted as necessary in order to substantiate a lawful suspension: • The employer must have a justifiable reason to believe that the employee has committed a serious offence. • The employer must have an objective and justifiable reason, that the employee’s presence at work may jeopardise the investigation. How can I use preventative suspension while conducting investigations? There are generally two types of preventative suspension: • Transfer or re-assignment of duties - the employee is transferred to another work location. • Suspension with full benefits - the employee is not allowed to continue with his/her normal duties and must stay away from work for a defined period of time. During this period the employee will receive his/her full salary. PUNITIVE SUSPENSION Right of suspension However, before an employer embarks on punitive suspension he/she/it must first

28 BEC Employment Compass 2015

verify if suspension without pay is expressly provided for in the employee’s contract of employment (directly or indirectly via the incorporation of such a right in a written external source like an employment handbook); or is implied by custom. In the unreported Barbadian case M’Jays Enterprises Limited v Patrick Weekes the Court of Appeal, in affirming the decision in Holder v Caribbean Air Cargo Co Ltd (1984) 19 Barb. L.R. 112 stated, “... a term providing for suspension cannot form part of the contract of employment unless it is an express term, or is incorporated by virtue of custom...” The role of the disciplinary hearing Suspension without pay should only be imposed where a disciplinary hearing has concluded that the employee is guilty of misconduct. Steps to suspension All disciplinary procedures should be based upon the principle of natural justice. Therefore, we recommend that employers adhere to the following steps, which are in keeping with the Employment Rights Act, when considering suspension without pay: 1. Provide the employee with a written statement which itemizes the alleged misconduct and invites the employee to a disciplinary hearing; 2. Convene the disciplinary hearing to adjudicate the alleged misconduct; 3. Notify the employee (verbally and in writing) of the disciplinary decision i.e suspension without pay; and 4. Notify the employee (verbally and in writing) of the right to submit a written appeal within a specified period e.g. seven (7) days. What should you include in the written notification of suspension? The following should be mentioned within the written and verbal notice of suspension:


Law & Guidance

LAW & ADVICE

Photo: Mariano Kamp via Flickr.com

• A caution that if the performance issue does not improve, the employee may be subject to further disciplinary action up to and including termination of employment. • An expectation of sustained, demonstrated improvement by the employee. • A caution that a violation of company rules and procedures after the suspension period may result in the termination of the employee’s employment. How long should a suspension last? Suspension without pay is usually viewed as an alternative to dismissal and should not, ordinarily, exceed two (2) weeks. If a suspension is anticipated to run longer than two weeks, the employer should assess whether the intention is to punish and rehabilitate the employee, or to keep him away from the company for as long as possible. If it is the latter, the employer should consider another form of discipline. Is the employee still employed while on punitive suspension? In the case Holder v Caribbean Air Cargo Company Limited (1984) 19 Barb. L.R. 112 it was held as a general principle of law that a suspended employee is still under a contract of employment. Therefore, such employment continues until the employer terminates the contract of employment; or the employee resigns from or abandons the contract of employment. CONCLUSION It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that he adheres to the disciplinary procedure as outlined in the Fourth Schedule to the Employment Rights Act. While the Act does not directly speak to the suspension of employees, it emphasises that natural justice is the premise upon which any discipline should be conducted. In summary: • The employee must be made aware of the issues that are being investigated against them. • An impartial investigation should be carried out to establish the facts and ascertain if formal disciplinary action should be taken. • Do not form a conclusion as to an employee’s guilt or innocence prior to the disciplinary hearing. • The employer should reserve the right to suspend without pay in the contract (directly or indirectly via the incorporation of such a right in a written external source like an employee handbook) as otherwise a suspension may be deemed unfair. • The investigation, disciplinary hearing and any resulting suspension should be compliant with the guidelines established by the Company’s disciplinary procedures as laid out in the Code of Discipline, employee handbook, etc as much as possible. It is hard to prove that the organisation acted in accordance with natural justice where it has not even followed its own documented rules and procedures. • Suspensions cannot be indefinite and should not ordinarily be for protracted periods of time. Therefore the investigations should be completed as soon as ‘reasonably practicable’ • Ensure consistency in disciplinary decisions as much as possible, in order to facilitate a reputation as an upholder of natural justice.

>>If a suspension is anticipated to run longer than two weeks, the employer should assess whether the intention is to punish and rehabilitate the employee, or to keep him away from the company for as long as possible. If it is the latter, the employer should consider another form of discipline.

Further due to the decision of the common law case Holder v Caribbean Air Cargo Company Limited (Barbados Supreme Court Suit No. 719, 1983) it is a general principle of law that a suspended employee is still under a contract of employment until his employer terminates his services. ■ BEC Employment Compass 2015

29


LEGISLATION

Law & Guidance

Summary Dismissal and The Employment ights Act Guidance Note issued by the BEC

S

ummary dismissal is defined as dismissal without notice. This action should only be considered in cases involving acts of ‘gross misconduct’. What an organisation regards as acts of gross misconduct should be clear from its disciplinary rules however it typically includes such things as theft or fraud, physical violence, gross negligence, incapacity due to alcohol or illegal drugs, and serious insubordination. Generally speaking, an act of gross misconduct is considered to be serious enough to overturn the contract between employer and employee, so justifying summary dismissal. However, even in these cases it’s still vital that the employer follows a fair procedure. The fourth schedule of the Employment Rights Act (ERA) outlines procedures for disciplinary action within organizations. Part B – Standard Disciplinary Procedures and Part C- Modified Disciplinary Procedures both outline procedures which can result in termination of an employee. The substantial difference being that Part B is a detailed procedure requiring a disciplinary hearing be held prior to disciplinary action being taken. However Part C allows for action without a meeting of the two parties. Given the above, the following question has arisen: Can an employer summarily dismiss (dismiss without notice) an employee, having held a disciplinary hearing utilising the 4th Schedule – Part B? OR Is an employer obligated to pay notice where a disciplinary hearing results in a dismissal decision, and the act committed by the employee can be considered as gross misconduct? CONSIDERATIONS Fourth Schedule, Part B – Standard Disciplinary Procedures This section of the Act stipulates 3 steps that an employer should follow in pursuing discipline: Step 1 – Statement of grounds for action and invitation to meeting • Shall be in writing • Ensure that the employee is advised of his/her right to representation • Outline the alleged conduct or circumstances. N.B. There is no requirement for a charge to be stated, it is suffice to describe the action. Step 2 – Meeting • Where possible, the meeting should be held within 7 days of notice. Note that the act does not give a minimum notice period. • The employee must take all reasonable steps to attend. • The employee must have a reasonable opportunity to consider his/her response to the information presented. Step 3 – Appeal • Appeals must be in writing and follow established disciplinary/grievance procedures Where the employer has proceeded to have a disciplinary hearing, and grounds for dismissal are established, then the employer may dismiss once the facts/circumstances merit such action. However, payment in lieu of notice must be made.

30 BEC Employment Compass 2015

Fourth Schedule, Part C- Modified Disciplinary Procedures This section of the Act stipulates 2 steps that an employer should follow when terminating an employee for an action amounting to gross misconduct. Step 1 – Statement of grounds for action • The employer sets out the alleged misconduct and the basis for thinking the employee was guilty and the right to appeal. Step 2 – Appeal • Where the employee wishes to appeal, it must be done in writing in line with established disciplinary/grievance procedures. Where an employee is dismissed using the Modified Disciplinary procedures the dismissal equates to summary dismissal (dismissal without notice). CONCLUSION Where an employer decides to terminate an employee following the process outlined in Part B of the fourth schedule of the Employment Rights Act, the employee should NOT be summarily dismissed. Therefore the terminated employee should receive notice of termination, or payment in lieu of notice. Where an employer intends to summarily dismiss an employee, Part C of the fourth schedule of the Employment Rights Act should be utilized. The provisions allow for the employee to be advised of the termination, the rationale for the termination, as well as procedures to appeal the termination decision. ■


WRONGFUL DISMISSAL

Law & Guidance

Court eport:

Wrongful Dismissal Edition

Calvin Husbands, Bsc, Msc, LLB - Labour Management Advisor, BEC calvin@barbadosemployers.com

The following case highlights that an employee may be subject to dismissal for the use of abusive and/or threatening language; but that employers should be cautious in using a summary form of dismissal for such infractions. EUDESE RAMSAY V ST. JAMES BEACH HOTELS SERVICES LIMITED MAGISTERIAL APPEAL NO. 4 OF 1999

M

s. Ramsay, who had been employed as a Maid at one of the hotels owned by St. James Beach Hotels Services Limited, was allegedly involved in a verbal altercation with a Housekeeper. The altercation apparently arose as follows – one morning Ms. Ramsay went to the Housekeeper’s office and requested her pay slip; the Housekeeper presented the pay slip to Ms. Ramsay; Ms. Ramsay noticed that her name was incorrectly spelt and so informed the Housekeeper; it was not the first time that Ms. Ramsay’s name had been incorrectly spelt. Ms. Ramsay uttered words to the Housekeeper (of a nature which were subsequently found by the Magistrate to have been “a threat coupled with an obscenity”). The Housekeeper followed Ms. Ramsay out of the office and enquired about the alleged utterance; and the verbal exchange was overheard by another employee at the hotel. Ms. Ramsey denied using the alleged words and suggested that they had been fabricated by the Housekeeper. Ms. Ramsay was suspended with pay for five (5) days pending investigations into the alleged incident by the Manager of the hotel. Subsequent to Ms. Ramsay’s return to work a meeting was convened between the management of the hotel and Ms. Ramsay’s union representatives “to investigate the charge of Eudese Ramsay using threatening remarks and obscene language to her supervisor”. Ms Ramsay was subsequently dismissed without notice.

Ms. Ramsay filed a claim for damages for wrongful dismissal before the District “E” Magistrates Court. The Magistrate assessed the following two (2) issues. Did Ms. Ramsay use the words? If she did, was the conduct such as to warrant summary dismissal? The Magistrate found that Ms. Ramsay had used the words and that “such an exhibition of behaviour to the supervisor (Housekeeper) demonstrates conduct which the Court found to be incompatible with the continuation of the working relationship . . . . It struck at the root of the employer/employee relationship . . . . the summary dismissal of the Plaintiff for threatening a supervisor and using obscene language was justified.” Ms. Ramsay filed an appeal with the Court of Appeal of Barbados against the magisterial decision. ISSUE 1) Whether the summary dismissal of Ms. Ramsay by St. James Beach Hotels Services Limited was justified? 2) Whether Ms. Ramsay was entitled to damages from St. James Beach Hotels Services Limited for wrongful dismissal? DECISION 1) The appeal was allowed and the order of the Magistrate was reversed. 2) Counsel for Ms. Ramsay and St. James Beach Hotels Services Limited were directed to compute Ms. Ramsay’s entitlement to damages for wrongful dismissal in accordance with section 45(1) of the Severance Payments Act, Cap. 355A and the First Schedule as amended in 1991. HOLDING Where the summary dismissal of an employee by an employer is found not to have been justified, the employee shall be entitled to damages for wrongful dismissal. REASONING The Court acknowledged that an act of disobedience or misconduct by an employee will only justify summary dismissal if it represents a repudiation of the contract of employment. However, the Court went on to state that it requires very special circumstances to entitle a servant who expresses his feelings in a grossly improper way to succeed in an action for wrongful dismissal. The Court asserted that though Ms. Ramsay’s actions constituted disgraceful behaviour, such “threats” and obscenities were commonplace in the workforce due to contemporary cultural and social attitudes and customs in Barbados; plus Barbadians have cont’d p.32

BEC Employment Compass 2015

31


TEST YOUR RECALL

traditionally expressed their annoyance with promises of assault and battery but with no intention to act upon such threats. Furthermore, the Court found that the mis-spelling of Ramsay’s name was not a single error, would have been perceived by Ms. Ramsay as deliberate and constituted some provocation. However, the Court noted that, far from attempting to execute her threat, Ms. Ramsay expressed herself and then left. The Court reflected on the fact that there had only been one (1)

Law & Guidance POLICY The Court sought to point out that even though the obscenities and ‘empty threats uttered by an employee as a result of provocation might invalidate an employer’s use of summary dismissal, the Court was not seeking to be complacent or to condone such disgraceful behaviour, which highlighted the lowered standards of decency or social values. ■

prior incident of unsatisfactory conduct by Ms. Ramsay in her twenty (21) years of continuous employment with the business; and that after Ms. Ramsay returned to work from her suspension, there was no evidence that it was impossible to continue the employer/employee relationship. The Court then concluded that while such misconduct was “certainly worthy of the sternest censure” including dismissal with reasonable notice or payment in lieu thereof; summary dismissal was not justified.

Test Your Recall

Complete the crossword below based on the articles and statistics highlighted in this magazine.

ACROSS

1

2

3. Most advertised occupational area in 2014 5. A benefit of outsourcing 6. Least advertised occupational area in 2013 7. This can possibly be breached with outsourcing 8. Mr. Walcott sits on the governing body of this international organisation (Acronym Requested) 9. Be fruitful and multiply relates to which 6 uncertainty under the Employment Rights Act 10. The economic recession globally has seen a reduction in this type of turnover 7 11. Safety beliefs, attitude and values 12. The BEC member who won a training grant form the Competency Based Training Fund (CBTF)

DOWN 1. The total numbers of trainees in the first cycle of CBTF funded training 2. A sub-division of the Labour Department 4. She was wrongfully dismissed from St. James Beach Hotel Services 7. Newest position at the BEC 13. A qualification acknowledge across the region (Acronym Requested) 14. Employer’s Liability is valid for this number of years

3

4 5

8

9

10

11

12

32 BEC Employment Compass 2015

13

14


Making Good Employers MAXWELL TRADING INC. Mr. David DaSilva – Managing Director

ETTER

“Barbados Employers’ Confederation has been our Saviour (Salvation) when it comes to labour challenges and disputes. BEC has put Maxwell Trading in the right direction as it relates to training, advice and counselling. BEC has changed the whole aspect of labour relations within our company.”

WARRENS PRIMARY Mr. Ché Edwards – Managing Director “We were referred to the Barbados Employers’ Confederation by a friend who uses the services as well. The services are good, especially when it comes to Human Resources department. The BEC has impacted on Warren’s Primary in that they are our ‘go to’ persons to answer questions and to have legal points clarified as it relates to industrial relations, labour legislation and labour laws.

GALES AGRO PRODUCTS LTD. Ms. Rachel Gale – Human Resources

“The training at the BEC is incredibly professional, informative, well run and creates a good opportunity for networking. We benefited from the BEC in building confidence in practical HR applications, gaining knowledge on new legislation and support generally. I have recommended the services at the BEC to several people as a place where you can learn more about the practical applications of the ERA, for excellent training and the valuable service of having officers vet policy documents.”

UPS SUPPLY CHAIN SOLUTIONS BARBADOS SRL Mr. Philip King – Country Manager

“My company was referred to the Barbados Employer’s Confederation as an authority in addressing local employment matters. The initial experience proved to be an engagement of consummate professionals, who possess a diverse knowledge portfolio of such matters. We have since utilized a range of services and I have found the output from the BEC to be of a consistent high standard, while maintaining the legal, moral and ethical tenents valuable to our business. I would recommend the BEC to businesses in need of similar consultation.”

BARBADOS STEEL WORKS Mr. Nigel Shurland – Operations Manager Steel Works benefited from the BEC in being able to better relate to employees and employees are better able to relate to us. I would absolutely recommend to anyone because the BEC offers good services, the services are relevant and up to date and everything that is current we can engage the BEC on. The articles in the Business Authority are always relevant.”

BARBADOS PUBLIC WORKERS’ CO-OPERATIVE CREDIT UNION LTD. Mrs. Tania Nicholls – Group HR Manager

I have worked with the Barbados Employers Confederation for eleven (11) years. From Industrial Relations (IR), to Health & Safety to training and upgrading the knowledge base of employees through the company, the BEC has been there every step of the way. They are a professional group of people who clearly commit to their core values as I see each of these attributes demonstrated in our every interaction. The BEC and the services it offers to its membership have aided significantly in my development personally and that of my team.“

Braemar Court, Deighton Road, Brittons Hill, P.O. Box 33B, St. Michael T: (246) 435-4753 or 271-5257/58 | F: (246) 435-2907 becon@barbadosemployers.com | barbadosemployers.com


Employment compass 2015 edition  

An analysis of the impact of training and vocational education for organisations in Barbados.

Employment compass 2015 edition  

An analysis of the impact of training and vocational education for organisations in Barbados.

Advertisement