Consultant says Employment Rights Act seriously flawed
A serious flaw.
That is how one human resource management and development consultant has described a section of the Employment Rights Act which relates to the issuing of contracts to employees.
Brenda Evelyn, principal consultant at Evelyn Associates Ltd, said a number of employers were refusing to provide statement of particulars to their workers and she was concerned about that practice.
However, labour officer with the Ministry of Labour Wayne Sobers said employers are not required by law to provide a statement of particulars once the worker was employed prior to April 15, 2013.
Under Section 13 (1) of the Act, “where a contract of employment is contemplated, the employer shall, prior to or forthwith upon the commencement of the contract, give the employee a written statement of the particulars of the employment” while Section 13 (2b) states that the statement shall contain the date when the employment begins or began.
Saying it was “a serious flaw” not to make it mandatory for employers to provide workers with a statement of particulars, regardless of their start date of employment, Evelyn said it was creating some level of contention.
“I know there is contention because I visited a prospective customer recently and she produced [an] e-mail that she received from a company representative which said to her that she did not have to do contracts for those persons in her employment who don’t have contracts or statement of particulars and she is sticking to it,” she said.
In the case of one company, Evelyn said there were ten employees who never had contracts or statements of particulars.
“Everything was verbal. Is it necessary that these people have a contract in writing? Is that verbal contract the word? What is the right thing to do?” queried Evelyn.
In response, Sobers said while the Labour Department believed that having a statement of particulars was necessary, the employer was not obligated to provide one for workers who have been employed prior to proclamation of the Act.
He said, however, that providing such a document for those employed before the proclamation was good practice, adding that it would also make the job of the labour department “easier”.
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