Redundancies slow to a trickle
Like a gushing pipe, in 2020 workers in Jamaica were made redundant by the thousands. In 2022, the permanent separation of workers from their jobs has slowed to a trickle.

THE loss of jobs which accelerated in 2020 has now slowed to a trickle, according to the Ministry of Labour and Social Security (MLSS).

The MLSS said while it has been able to track workers who have been permanently separated from employment, it has no numbers for men and women who were laid off for limited periods.

The ministry commented, "While employers have a discretion to lay off workers for a maximum of 120 days, there is no legislative requirement for lay-offs to be reported to the minister of labour. Hence, the ministry is unable to report on lay-offs. However, redundancies are expected to be reported. In 2020, a total of 6,006 redundancies were reported. This number declined to 1,543 in 2021. Between January and March 2022, the number of redundancies reported were 96."

The trend is in sync with rising employment rates. The employment rate in Jamaica increased to 94 per cent in the second quarter of 2022 from 93.80 per cent in the first quarter of 2022, according to the Statistical Institute of Jamaica.

According to the MLSS, the reason for redundancy is not included among the information required from employers under section 11 (1) of the Employment (Termination and Redundancy Payments) Regulations, (1974).

Notwithstanding, some employers cite restructuring exercises as well as a decline in business operations as reasons for redundancy. Employees who have been laid off and not recalled can ask for redundancy payments.

An employee who is made redundant must be provided with a written statement indicating how the redundancy payment is calculated. An employee (except a seasonal employee) is entitled to either two weeks' pay for the first 10 years of employment and three weeks' pay for each succeeding year or 2/13 of his total salary earned in respect of the last 13 weeks of employment and 3/13 for each succeeding year, whichever of the two are greater.

The redundancy pay for seasonal employees is calculated by multiplying two weeks' pay (three weeks after 10 seasons) by the number of consecutive years of continuous employment.

Avia Collinder

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