Labour Act: Breaks, Contractors, Leave & More

January 18, 2021 | 5 Comments

Workers are now entitled to a 30-minute break for every five hours of work, it is “harder for employers to incorrectly classify employees as independent contractors” and bereavement leave has been extended to include grandparents, great-grandparents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.

This is according to a statement from Senator Arianna Hodgson who said, “Our party’s philosophy is rooted in ensuring that a hard day’s work is respected and that workers are protected.

PLP Senator Arianna Hodgson Bermuda Jan 18 2021 TWFB

“As has been reported in the news, the Senate just passed two major pieces of legislation that will together form Bermuda’s Employment and Labour Code.

“By the end of this year, the Employment Amendment Act 2020 and the Trade Union and Labour Relations [Consolidation] Act 2020 will have gone into effect. That sounds like a lot of parliamentary words.

“But, what does this mean for you?

“For starters, workers are now entitled to a 30-minute break for every five hours of work. We all know that hard work requires rest and that well rested employees are more productive employees. By legislating these breaks, we’re increasing the well-being of employees and, in turn, increasing the bottom line for employers.

quote samples jan 18 2021 ah sen (1)

“Secondly, we’ve made it harder for employers to incorrectly classify employees as independent contractors. While there are pros and cons to being an independent contractor, it is important that we protect persons from being coerced into independent contractor agreements by companies looking to avoid paying taxes and benefits. Classifying you rightfully as an employee gives you many more benefits than those that are afforded to independent contractors and it is a welcome change.

“If 2020 has taught us anything, it has been the importance of family. In addition to removing the requirement for persons to work one complete year before being entitled to paid time off to attend ante-natal appointments, we’ve also extended bereavement leave to include grandparents, great-grandparents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. We understand the devastation that may accompany grief and acknowledge that employees may need to take some time to grieve their loved one.

“As a government, we had to step in to make sure that employers can no longer withhold final pay for employees. If terminated by your employer, you are to be paid by your next regular payment cycle or within a maximum of 7 days, whichever is longer. Employers are legally obligated to pay their employees and we’ve made the timeline clear.

quote samples jan 18 2021 ah sen (2)

“Finally, we consolidated the various tribunals, arbitration panels and boards into one Tribunal that will hear all labour and employment-related disputes. This change will reduce the time it takes for disputes to be resolved.

“While we still have more work to do, we’re making sure and steady progress to build a fairer, more equitable Bermuda for all.”

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Comments (5)

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  1. Joe Bloggs says:

    “For starters, workers are now entitled to a 30-minute break for every five hours of work. We all know that hard work requires rest and that well rested employees are more productive employees. By legislating these breaks, we’re increasing the well-being of employees and, in turn, increasing the bottom line for employers.”

    The Minister, Jason Hayward, said these amendments would not come into effect until 1 June 2021. You say “workers are now entitled …”.

    Which is it please?

    “Secondly, we’ve made it harder for employers to incorrectly classify employees as independent contractors.”

    No, you have changed the law and taken choices away from both employers and employees by dictating who will be classified as an employee no matter what the “employer” and the “employee” might want.

  2. bluenose says:

    “Finally, we consolidated the various tribunals, arbitration panels and boards into one Tribunal that will hear all labour and employment-related disputes. This change will reduce the time it takes for disputes to be resolved.” Will it though?

  3. Let's Keep It Real says:

    Security Companies will now have to give their staff 30 minute breaks.
    Some of these companies are the biggest culprits of having their guards work a straight shift.

  4. STILLAPROB says:

    There should be no requirement for staff to work an entire year before they receive paid leave for ANY purpose…including vacation…6 months tops! Once your probation is up you should be entitled to PAID time off! Like the Senator said…everyone needs a break and family time…they shouldn’t feel they can’t take it because they can’t afford to, based on not being paid! Its ridiculous

  5. wahoo says:

    Any plans to tighten up on “sick days” being abused and treated like holiday time?

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