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At a press conference on 24th June, 2015, the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs and the Department of Labour & Pensions released the Labour Relations Bill, 2015 for public consultation.  Once passed, this Bill will replace the Labour Law (2011 Revision).

Published 26th June 2015, 1:25pm

At a press conference on 24th June, 2015, the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affairs and the Department of Labour & Pensions released the Labour Relations Bill, 2015 for public consultation. Once passed, this Bill will replace the Labour Law (2011 Revision).

Due to the substantial amount of changes to the legislation that were needed to bring the law in line with the Government’s policy priorities and to address the multi-faceted issues that the Department of Labour and Pensions has been grappling with for years, it was agreed that the Labour Law (2011) should be repealed and renamed with the objective of bringing forward this new piece of legislation.

Hon. Tara Rivers, Minister for Employment, spoke at length on the major changes that are being proposed in the Bill. She also spoke to the main objectives of the draft legislation saying, “Generally speaking, the amendments to the legislation aim to align the Labour Relations Bill, 2015 with this Coalition Government’s vision as it relates to our awareness of best human resources practices; to clarify the law for the benefit of all users, including employees and employers, and other stakeholders, as well as to protect and enhance the rights of employees and employers; to establish clear expectations in dispute resolution as well as timelines for enforcement action; to institute a more effective deterrent to non-compliance with the legislation by introducing an administrative fine regime and increasing penalties where appropriate; and to ensure that efforts are made to lessen the opportunities or loopholes for structural discrimination against Caymanian employees.”

Minister Rivers also clarified that some of the legislative recommendations related to the adoption of a National Minimum Wage contained in the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee’s (MWAC) Report, which has been accepted by the Government and is already in the public domain, are not included in the Labour Relations Bill, 2015. This is due to the concern that the time needed to incorporate the additional minimum wage provisions would significantly delay the publication of the consultation draft Bill, which was in its final stages of readiness by the time the MWAC report was accepted by the Government. As a result of the number of proposed changes reflected in the Bill and the need to allow time for further drafting to incorporate the provisions relating specifically to the Minimum Wage Regime, the Ministry has published the consultation draft Bill on its website and has proceeded with the consultation process at this time. However, the necessary legislative changes to establish the Minimum Wage Regime will be discussed during the public consultation of the Labour Relations Bill, 2015. The legislative recommendations of the Minimum Wage Advisory Committee, which have already been made available to the public, will be incorporated as necessary into the final draft of the Labour Relations Bill, 2015 before it is tabled in the Legislative Assembly.

Also speaking at the press conference was Mr. Christen Suckoo, Acting Chief Officer in the Ministry for Employment who provided the background and history of the Labour Law, and Mr. Mario Ebanks, Director of Labour and Pensions who spoke to the details of the public consultation process.

The public consultation phase for this Bill will last just over 60 days and will end on the 31st August, 2015. The Bill can be downloaded from the Ministry of Education, Employment & Gender Affair’s Website: www.education.gov.ky. For direct access to the webpage containing the draft Bill, the public can also go to www.education.gov.ky/labourpensions. There is also a summary document that can be downloaded from the same webpage that highlights the major changes contained in the Labour Relations Bill, 2015 and will assist the public in navigating the Bill.

The public can send their comments and/or concerns to the Ministry by email to lpl@gov.ky.

Stakeholder meetings and Public District Meetings will also take place in the month of July. The schedule for the district meetings will be released in the upcoming week once the details are finalised. All members of the public are encouraged to take part in this public consultation as this Bill will affect every employer and employee in the Cayman Islands.