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Employers now have until Jan 31, 2021 to pay severance

- as Government further extends lay-off period
Companies with 'laid off' workers have until January 31, 2021, to pay severance. Photo: VINO/File
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9), in a statement on Friday, November 6, 2020, said the lay-off period has now been extended for another 3 months, to January 31, 2021. Photo: GIS/File
Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9), in a statement on Friday, November 6, 2020, said the lay-off period has now been extended for another 3 months, to January 31, 2021. Photo: GIS/File
ROAD TOWN, Tortola, VI- Employers in the Virgin Islands who have been unable to keep their workers employed due to the COVID-19 pandemic now have until January 31, 2021, to pay severance if no work is still available.

Minister for Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration, Hon Vincent O. Wheatley (R9), back in June 2020, had said only terminated expatriate workers were being asked to leave the Territory; however, those laid-off would fall in an entirely different category, subject to different labour policies.

Cabinet, also in June, had decided to temporarily extend the usual three-month layoff period to seven months as many businesses found it difficult to come up with severance packages.

The seven-month lay-off extension period come to an end on October 31, 2020.

3-month extension

In a statement on Friday, November 6, 2020; however, Hon Wheatley said the lay-off period has now been extended for another 3 months, to January 31, 2021.

“As Minister for Labour, I took before the House of Assembly the Labour Code (Amendment) Act, 2020, on the 11th June, 2020 which extended the lay-off period from three months in total to a period not to exceed 31st October, 2020.

“With the current pandemic in mind and the harsh realities being faced by both employees and employers, I have recommended and received the approval of Cabinet to extend the previously established lay-off period from 31st October, 2020 to 31st January, 2021,” Hon Wheatley stated.

‘Hard decision’

Hon Wheatley said it was “a hard decision” to make; however, he is mindful of the woes of workers who desire to remain under the same employ and VI businesses who may not prefer or cannot afford to sever and rehire workers.

“With this in mind, I would like to again remind employers to be considerate to their employees by notifying them of any changes to their employment agreement, and gaining their agreement to the changes, prior to contacting the Department of Labour and Workforce Development.”

Hon Wheatley also encouraged employees to speak with employers about matters related to their continued lay-off status, where applicable, prior to visiting the Department of Labour and Workforce Development.

“As we continue to work diligently to safeguard work in this Territory, we continue to seek the commitment of our employees and employers to be good stewards as we fight with the reality of unemployment during these uncertain times,” Hon Wheatley stated.

16 Responses to “Employers now have until Jan 31, 2021 to pay severance”

  • Windy (08/11/2020, 14:41) Like (3) Dislike (1) Reply
    finally they have a hart
  • Lord o (08/11/2020, 14:46) Like (15) Dislike (1) Reply
    Employers getting away with everything. They broke the Law They get away.. the lie. They lie they get away, They have one set of worker's getting plenty hours and some get none, and they get away,. They have people working without approved work permit, They get away... There is no balance.. We need employers Yes, but they have to be fair and abide by the law..
  • Fed Up (08/11/2020, 14:52) Like (21) Dislike (2) Reply
    this is ridiculous I will like my money now how am I going to eat and pay my bills it looks like you care about the employers more than the employees we need to serve
  • Stripes (08/11/2020, 15:28) Like (4) Dislike (16) Reply
    Ayo giving them island people more time to stay here that’s some nonsense
  • GG (08/11/2020, 18:56) Like (8) Dislike (0) Reply
    So how does someone on a permit who is laid off make a living? Under current rules they are not supposed to seek other employment so how are they to survive? Is this a smart way if saying bye bye see you? If the latter is so how will businesses restart when tourists come back and things pick up a bit?
  • island man (08/11/2020, 19:01) Like (5) Dislike (0) Reply
    empty barrels make the most noise. stupid empty barrels.?? I rest my case.
  • The Robbers (08/11/2020, 19:12) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Mr. Minister please make it clear to all employers that severance must be paid at the precovid salary and not at the reduced salary they have been paying employers since the pandemic. A lot of employers reduce employees salary since covid, wait for six month then terminate the employees and then calculate severance at the reduced COVID rate. Mr. Minister I want you to come out publicly and let them know that this is wrong and they should pay severance at the correct rate.

  • dj (08/11/2020, 20:51) Like (4) Dislike (0) Reply

    The law should not be changed or adjust for anyone. Only in the BVI that is possible.

  • Scrubisland (08/11/2020, 22:58) Like (6) Dislike (0) Reply
    Are we getting another rounds of stimulus package?
  • Severance Pay? (09/11/2020, 09:00) Like (6) Dislike (1) Reply
    I got news for ayo waitin on severance pay: It ain gon come. Ever. Period. These employers ain been paying revenue, SSB, nor NHI but steady taking that money from we. They all just as broke as we so where severance money comin from? Best to just get that severance word out yo head.
  • Truth (09/11/2020, 09:38) Like (7) Dislike (1) Reply
    Its a funny thing that locals too are being affected. They keep extended the time but u cant even get vacation pay or something and bcause they aint pay SS, NHI, U cant get money from anyone to pay bills etc. Pay off your staff and let them move on. What saddens me they were making money and still not paying in SS and NHI and no its worse. They (Employers) should be held accountable for breaking the law. It seems like they waiting for people to go home, but pay them their money let them go. Its unfair. I applaud some business who ensure that they look after their staff by giving them vouchers for groceries and help with bills. But there are some who don't care for their employees, just themselves. They wont prosper trust me, they going suffer.

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