The Department of Labour is working assiduously to process severance claims by workers terminated from their jobs.
Section 26 of the Protection of Employment Act Cap 18.27 outlines the condition for the payment of severance. It states: “Where an employee has been continuously employed for a period of not less than one year and the employer terminates the services of that employee on any grounds specified in paragraph (d), (e), (f) or (g) of section 5(1), or the employee has terminated his or her services in pursuance of section 8(3), the employee shall be entitled to severance payment.”
Section 26 (2) outlines similar protection for seasonal workers.
Commissioner of Labour, Shernel James, said that during the months of April, May and June, most of the resources of the Department of Labour was dedicated to processing thousands of applications from laid off employees under the COVID-19 Emergency Relief Fund. The fund was administered by the St. Christopher and Nevis Social Security Board.
The application period for the income stimulus measure ended in June. Since then, the department’s staff has been working on reviewing severance claims.
On the July 28, 2020, edition of the Leadership Matters – Virtual Forum Series, Commissioner James said that claims could be held at the department between six weeks to three months.
“Usually if a claim goes beyond the three month period it is due to the fact that the claim would have a number of issues arising out of it,” she stated.
If any irregularities are detected, the employee will be contacted and efforts made to correct any areas of concern.
Prime Minister and Minister of Finance, Dr. the Honourable Timothy Harris, said that whenever claims of any nature are made, persons must pay keen attention to the information that is required. He noted that if any data are missing it will undoubtedly cause a delay in the processing and fulfilment of such. Dr. Harris, therefore, urged persons to “exercise proper care to ensure (that) forms are fully completed to the extent necessary, and that the information is accurate.”
Main photo: COMMISSIONER OF LABOUR, SHERNEL JAMES