Statement regarding concerns raised on the Draft of the Labour Relations Bill, 2015
Published 27th July 2015, 11:8am
The Ministry of Education, Employment and Gender Affairs released the draft Labour Relations Bill, 2015 for public consultation on 24th June, 2015. Officials from the Ministry and the Department of Labour and Pensions attended the Chamber of Commerce’s “Be Informed” Information Session on 22nd July where Huw Moses and Venesha McLean presented their review of the Labour Relations Bill, 2015.
The “Be Informed” presentation raised a number of observations that will be considered during the next phase of legislative drafting process. However, it appeared that at several times during the presentation emphasis was placed on particular provisions in an attempt to sensationalise certain issues. For example, much concern was raised in relation to the new proposed provision that gives the ability for a Labour Tribunal to order an employer to re-instate or re-engage an employee, who has been found to have been unfairly dismissed, as an alternative remedy for compensation. However, it was not explained during the presentation that if a Tribunal chose to exercise this remedy, the practicality of making such an order would need to be considered by the Tribunal - in addition to both parties’ wishes. It is important to note that similar provisions in relation to re-instatement and re-engagement options for unfair dismissal are commonly found in labour legislation in other jurisdictions, such as the United Kingdom, and similar provisions are available in the local Gender Equality Law, 2011, none of which was discussed at the Chamber session.
In drafting the public consultation Bill, the Ministry, the Department, and the entire Government have endeavoured to be sensitive to those individuals, businesses, organisations, and other interests who seek a wide spectrum of objectives from this important initiative. In the process, there has been a deliberate attempt to balance the interests of the employee and the employer.
The Government encourages all stakeholders to obtain and read a copy of the consultation draft Bill (the Bill can be downloaded from www.education.gov.ky/labourpensions), where they will see that attempts have been made to clarify and strengthen a number of provisions in the law in order to benefit both the employee and the employer, and the economy as a whole. As long as an employer abides by the law, there would be no fear about the application of increased penalties and fees as a result of breach of the law.
The purpose of the public consultation phase is for the Government to receive constructive feedback and queries about the Bill from the public and key stakeholders. The Ministry and the Department of Labour and Pensions look forward to receiving this feedback and reviews from all interested persons and organisations, including the Chamber of Commerce, which will be considered in the next phase of the legislative process.
It is hoped that the information received during the public consultation process will greatly assist the Ministry and Department of Labour and Pensions during the refining process to produce Labour legislation that will introduce best human resource practices into the law; clarify the law to protect and enhance the rights of employees and employers; and to ensure that efforts are made to lessen the opportunities or loopholes for structural discrimination against the local workforce.
The closing date to submit feedback to the Ministry (by sending an email to firstname.lastname@example.org) during this public consultation process is the 31st August 2015. The intention is for the revised Labour Relations Bill to be brought to the Legislative Assembly by the end of 2015.