Categorized | National News

New Inspectorate Unit Formed

A new inspectorate unit has been formed at the Department of Labour to protect employees with no union representation, according to Director of Labour, Robert Farquharson.

Mr. Farquharson said the unit was created as a result of hundreds of employees coming into the department seeking help.

“So many Bahamian workers are being treated unfairly by employers specifically as it relates to adhering to the various provisions of the Employment Act such as paying out sick benefits and paying for overtime,” he told the Bahama Journal recently.

“The Department of Labour is going to position itself to make sure that all employers comply with the Industrial Relations Act and the Employment Act. Failure to comply with the provisions, the department will take steps to prosecute employers in an effective and timely manner.”

Mr. Farquharson said in times past, businesses have been able to get away “scot free” despite treating their workers unfairly, but that will all end, he says, while he is director.

“There are provisions in both Acts that allow for people to be fined up to $5,000 or be imprisoned for two years and my job as director of labour is to ensure that the statute laws are complied with,” he said.

“We have developed this new inspectorate unit within the department and they will be charged with going into the various business establishments demanding certain records and when those records are failed to be given or given and shown that they are in breach of certain laws, it will be demanded that they do as they should or risk being prosecuted. All workers have enshrined in both Acts certain entitlements and standards.”

He said his job requires him being fair to the employee as well as the employer.

“Sad to say many employers don’t provide the entitlements under the law,” Mr. Farquharson said.

“Employees often don’t have the easy road because when they complain they are victimised or they are dismissed. People know the unemployment rate is high so many employees choose to just sit on their jobs and suffer despite the fact that the law provides them with certain entitlements. My job is to ensure that both employee and employer know the rules.”

Mr. Farquharson further explained that he will enforce the laws to the fullest extent.

“When an employee breaks the rules and comes to the department we will be firm and fair and the same is applicable to the employer,” he said.

“The department is an independent body and we have to make sure both parties comply with the laws.”

Sasha Lightbourne

Written by Sasha Lightbourne

Journal Staff Writer

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