Independent Senator Sir Henry Fraser has raised concern that the newly passed Holidays with Pay Act may put certain employers and employees at a disadvantage.
Sir Henry told the Senate Wednesday that while he supports the legislation, “there [are] nevertheless areas of nuances” which should be addressed.
“Because I would hazard a guess that it is very few of the small employers in Barbados who read acts like this, who are familiar with all of the details in an Act of some 30-odd pages, and would therefore be unaware of the list of potential offences on page 16 under Section 11.
“Now what Section 11 says Madam President is of concern to me for those people who may be the single employee of some old age pensioner or retired teacher or civil servant . . . who not only might refuse to let an employee take an annual holiday to which he is entitled, that’s an act of commission, and an act potentially, as Sir Roy said, of possible exploitation.”
Sir Henry also pointed to Section 4 (5) which deals with not giving notice in at least 14 days of an arranged holiday, or contravening Section 4 (10) which addresses the issue of giving notice of termination during holiday.
According to him, elderly employers may not aware of them, “or simply being absent minded or simply not having a very good memory or competence because they’re elderly and somewhat insecure in what they’re doing”.
Any employer who is found guilty of contravening the law, is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $10,000 or to a term of imprisonment of one year or both.
“My concern is not with the principles of the Bill, which I wholeheartedly support, but with the nuances of these areas relating to acts of omission, because the vast majority of small employers will not be intimately familiar with every element of an Act like this.
“I would be concerned when things are in an Act that there are some for the older less competent, less well organized individual employing one or possibly even two people sometimes on a part-time basis with their limited pensions or salaries [that] could lead to very difficult situations which would lead to not only their suffering, but to the employee actually losing their employment,” Sir Henry said.
He also expressed hope that the Chief Labour Officer would engage “all of the nuances”, adding that they are potential areas of problems which may affect some employees.