Categorized | Featured, National News

Legal Fight Brewing Over Vacation Days


Labour Minister Shane Gibson Tuesday hinted that a recent ruling by the Industrial Tribunal that effectively changes the work week from five days to seven days could have some major implications.

The tribunal’s ruling, which is being appealed, impacts how vacation time is allotted.

Currently, vacation days are awarded in weeks with five days typically accounting for a week, but if the ruling is stayed, Mr. Gibson said a week will then mean seven days.

“It’s an interesting ruling; for years now everybody knew a work week to be five days, but now a ruling has been handed down by the president of the industrial tribunal where he is now saying that a week is now seven days, which means that instead of you having five days for vacation if you are entitled to one week of vacation if it’s not spelt out in days then the implication is that you are entitled to seven days,” the minister told reporters outside Cabinet.

“Obviously from what I heard from the employer – Central Bank – I think they intend to appeal that ruling because based on the preliminary legal opinion that may be an incorrect ruling. We don’t know for sure, but once it is appealed a higher authority will determine whether or not a week is in fact meant to seven days rather than five days in terms of vacation.”

Mr. Gibson said no attempts at amending the laws will be made until the legal battle has concluded and while he avoided making any prediction as to what he thought would happen, the minister noted that the issue will have wide-reaching effects.
“Depending on what happens at the end of the day with the appeal process we will have to make a decision as to whether or not amendments to the laws are necessary to specify days rather than weeks,” Mr. Gibson said.

“I know in some industrial agreements it is spelt out where you are entitled to [a certain] amount of days after the first year and after [a certain] amount of years – it’s spelt out in actual days rather than weeks. And in actual law it is spelt out in weeks rather than days. So, if it means bringing clarity and amending the laws then we may have to look at that.”

Written by Jones Bahamas

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