The Shops Bill 2015 hopes to bring Barbados into the 24/7 type society.
Minister of Industry, Donville Inniss, in moving the Second Reading of the Shops Bill 2015 in the House of Assembly, said with the introduction of this piece of legislation the State was seeking to bring Barbados fully into the 21st century.
Inniss said the reality was that the rest of the world was not waiting on Barbados therefore the island could no longer continue to operate in an 8 a.m. to 4 p.m. atmosphere with an eight to four mentality.
The Minister of Industry pointed out that one of the major issues that Government was addressing in the Shops Bill 2015 was the number of hours which a shop is allowed to open to do business.
Inniss told Parliament that under the proposed Bill, a shop will be allowed to open in Barbados from Mondays to Sundays between the hours of 7 a.m. and 10 p.m. and the only time a shop will be required to be closed by law will be between 10 p.m. on Sunday nights to 7 a.m on Mondays.
“So Government has now given shop owners and operators a more enabling environment by giving them flexibilty in terms of hours in which they can be open to serve the public,” Inniss said.
He further explained that the legislation now removes public holidays from being closed days, while maintaining Good Friday, Easter Sunday, Christmas Day and Independence Day as closed days.
“Now I want to make it abundantly clear that the closed days with the exception of Independence Day are days celebrated among members of the Christian faith. But the Bill is seeking to protect the rights of other citizens who may not be of the Christian faith. It also pointed out that an employer cannot force an individual to work on a day that is deemed a religious holiday. That is instructive because Barbados has always been seen a very tolerant society. A society recognising that there are others in our midst who may not be of the predominant Christian faith and therefore we have to accommodate them,” Inniss explained.
He went on to say that the Shops Bill 2015 also addresses such issues as the provision of stools for workers, one hour lunch breaks, the provision of adequate space for a lunch room, adequate water supply for workers and the provision First Aid supplies with a person trained in this area. (NC)