Employment Leave Act Takes Effect On Jan 1st

November 14, 2019 | 23 Comments

The Government is reminding the community and “particularly local businesses” that the Employment Amendment Act takes effect on January 1, 2020, with the new law extending paid maternity leave to 13 weeks, providing for five days paid paternity leave, and allowing employees to take one week’s holiday after the first six months of employment.

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A Government spokesperson said, “The Minister of Labour, Community Affairs and Sports, the Hon. Lovitta Foggo, JP, MP, is reminding the community, particularly local businesses that the Employment [Maternity Leave Extension and Paternity Leave] Amendment Act takes effect January 1, 2020.

“And Minister Foggo is encouraging local businesses to ensure that their organizations are compliant with the new legislative amendments. Businesses should note that the Act essentially:

  • “Extends maternity leave to thirteen [13] paid weeks for employees who have worked for one continuous year. The current allowance for maternity leave is eight [8] weeks paid leave and four [4] weeks unpaid leave. Employees who have not worked for a full year will be entitled to thirteen [13] weeks of unpaid leave;
  • “Provides five [5] paid days paternity leave for employees who are becoming fathers and who have worked for one continuous year by the expected date of birth. Employees who have not worked for a full year will be entitled to five [5] days unpaid leave; and
  • “Provides a measure of flexibility in the use of that vacation leave, as employees will now be entitled to one week’s holiday after the first six [6] months of employment.

Following the passage of the legislation in September Minister Foggo said, “The provision of maternity and paternity leave is a key element in enabling parents to forge bonds with their babies. While maternity leave has become standard in most countries around the world and in Bermuda, the provision of paternity leave globally has been neglected.

“Paternity leave helps foster better child relationships. We want to ensure fairness and equity. So, essentially, this Act amends the Employment Act 2000 to provide for vacation leave after the first six months of continuous employment, the extension of maternity leave and the provision of paternity leave.”

Minister Foggo concluded, “As the Minister responsible for labour, I was pleased to be able to guide this legislation through passage in the House of Assembly. I encourage all of our businesses to familiarize themselves with the new legislation so that they can ensure a fair and equitable workplace for all.”

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Comments (23)

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  1. equality says:

    The government says, “We want to ensure fairness and equity.” Why do women get 13 weeks then and men only one week? This is not equality. This is sending the message that a women’s place is at home with the kids while men go out to work and earn money. This is an outdated view of the world and it is discriminatory towards both men and women. The decision about who works and who stays at home with the baby should be made by individuals and families, not by governments or companies.

    • Mary Lodge says:

      Women’s bodies have to recover from childbirth and pregnancy. Many mothers are breast feeding the baby. New borns often keep parents up at night.. It is sad this has to be explained to you.

      • Let me break it down.... says:

        Maternity leave had to be instituted once the industrial revolution came about. And crazy enough, it had to be fought for by moms.

        Unfortunately, society seems to think this period is just for the mom. Evidence shows that bonding time for newborns is critical to their emotional and psychological state of being.

        Understanding this connection between baby and parent is critical to the foundation of a strong family unit and society.

    • Damyon says:

      Do you believe that men should get 13 weeks too?

    • 100% agree says:

      We are in the 21st century. Why do we expect fathers to take an active role with raising kids, but give them one week to bond with a child?

      Let’s think about some 21st century scenarios.

      Does the law give maternity leave for parents who adopt or foster newborns.

      What happens if a mom dies in birth and only the father is left to raise the newborn.

      What happens if a mom is found to be unfit to raise a newborn but the father is willing an able to care for the newborn.

      Does a mom get maternity leave if a surrogate person carries their newborn child?

      What happens for same sex couples (cause we know that’s where we are heading)and two males receive a newborn.

      • frank says:

        the male does not give birth and does not breast feed da

      • MonkeySea says:

        These are all valid points but will go over the heads of those who can’t think outside of the box. E.g. the reply submitted by “frank” under this comment.

    • Justasuggestion says:

      I fully understand your point. The new amendment is a step in the right direction though. Yes i’d agree with you not equal. I work in a private local business and our colleagues, both new parents to a cute baby got the option to split the old 8 week minimum rule between them. Yeah that is great dad can have more time but for the mother it is still brutal. She expresses during work hours to supply for baby because dads home. Credit when its due, its a step forward but not enough. Im not a parent but imagine it hard as hell

    • Well if a man can carry a baby in his stomach,go through de torture of body changes and push out a baby 4x bigger then its exit point, then Ill agree with you.
      The baby is more connected to the mother, so when the cord is cut there is a process of bonding and healing.

    • Lone Wolf says:

      I agree. But even IF the mother decides to go back to work and the father stays home with the infant, is 5 days really enough for a mother to recover from child birth? It seems to me that either way 5 days just isn’t enough time for parent B.

    • ROGER LAMBERT says:

      Government sets a basic rule, a Private company can do more. The Employment Act 2000 should change now.

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    I asked this before and no one has has answered. What is the estimated cost of this change on the average business?

    Come on people, look at the economic reality. This will cost Gorham’s and The Market Place and Masters and SAL thousands of dollars per employee! Why is no one considering that cost?

    • frank says:

      it all depends on how many women in the company who are planning on having babies or how many women are still in their child bearing ages

    • Whats costly and what no one wants to talk about is I can buy a drill online for $150.00 and it will cost me $600 in Bermuda, sugar tax excluded.

      • Joe Bloggs says:

        OJ, if you lived here you would know that almost everything is imported. Most things are shipped in from New Jersey. Add the cost of shipping the product 750 miles to the on-line cost. Then add duty to the on-line cost. Now add the cost of doing business to the on-line cost (rent, payroll, payroll burden and the like). We haven’t even added profit yet and your $150 drill has roughly doubled in price.

        And for the record, if you lived here you would know that things typically cost double US prices, not 4 times US prices.

  3. Answers Please says:

    How about making a law where employers cannot force spouse of bermudian, or anyone, to work a long 50 hour week standard and then expect on average about an extra 4 to 7 hours overtime each day on top, with no overtime rate pay for the extra hours. This does not even give the employee time to eat, sleep, or even have a life outside of work hours during the work week. Waking at around 5:30am to get to work for 7am to work until 5pm contracted then expected to stay at work until around 9pm – midnight. When are they supposed to sleep? Eat? Have a life with family at home? Such employers essentially all say, “I’m not forcing you to work that much, if you cant do the job I will find someone else who will. I can’t afford to pay for double shifts etc.”

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      If you don’t like the job leave. No employer can force any employee to do anything.

      I do work 50 hours a week. If you do not want to keep up with me, go work somewhere else. It is not my job to carry you.

  4. Sense says:

    How about making a law where employers cannot force spouse of bermudian, or anyone, to work a long 50 hour week standard and then expect on average about an extra 4 to 7 hours overtime each day on top, with no overtime rate pay for the extra hours. This does not even give the employee time to eat, sleep, or even have a life outside of work hours during the work week.

  5. Really says:

    This is nuts, why don’t we just give a year off to the mother and father . Why is this even the employers responsibility?

  6. frank says:

    the male does not give birth or breast feed

  7. Kim says:

    This is going to be very hard on small businesses, and people are worried about Gorhams and masters?

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      I used Gorham’s and Masters (and Marketplace) as examples of established retail businesses. Such businesses typically employ a lot of young women. I did not mean to limit my issue to those businesses.

      Every shop on Court Street will feel the same pain. Every shop on Water Street will feel the same pain. Every shop on Somerset Road will feel the same pain. Every shop in Flatts will feel the same pain. Every retailer in every part of Bermuda will feel the same pain.

  8. Jerry says:

    some jobs give 3 to 6 weeks to men already

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