Video: Minister On Layoffs & Vaccination Policies

February 3, 2022 | 5 Comments

[Updated] Minister of Labour Jason Hayward will be holding a press conference at 10.00 this morning [Feb 3] and Government said it is regarding the topic of “workplace vaccinations and layoffs.” We will stream it live, so the video below should start at around 10.00am, and we will post the full statement later on today.

Update: The press conference has concluded, we will update with the full statement as able, in the meantime, to start, the Minister said, “Today I would like to address a number of concerns reported to the Ministry of Labour from employees and members of the public about mandatory vaccinations within the workplace and the perceived treatment of Bermudian employees as it pertains to layoffs. Employees and their representatives from various industries have voiced concern that many employers are laying off Bermudian employees at a rate disproportionate to that of work permit holders.”

Update: The live broadcast has concluded and the 13-minute replay is below

Update 10.50am: Minister Hayward’s remarks:

Good day to all members of the media and the listening public.

Today I would like to address a number of concerns reported to the Ministry of Labour from employees and members of the public about mandatory vaccinations within the workplace and the perceived treatment of Bermudian employees as it pertains to layoffs.

Employees, and their representatives, from various industries, have voiced concern that many employers are laying off Bermudian employees at a rate disproportionate to that of Work Permit holders.

The Ministry understands that due to the current economic climate in Bermuda, businesses find it challenging to remain open. However, the Government has made its position clear on work permits, in that they should only be used when Bermudian labour is not available.

It is understood that some employers do not have a layoff policy or schedule in place and are not fair and equitable in their decision making. And so I strongly advise employers to implement a layoff policy or schedule that is equally applied to all employees to avoid further complaints.

Employers are also reminded to adhere to the layoff provisions as noted in Section 32 of the Employment Act 2000 and they should contact the Labour Relations Section for guidance to comply with the Bermuda Labour Code.

Covid 19 Pandemic has caused many employers to review their business operations, including how best to protect their staff and clients from contracting the Covid 19 virus.

Unfortunately, some employers have practised laying off, suspending, and even in some cases terminating employees who are not vaccinated. Employers and employees must recognise and understand that vaccination is a personal choice. An employee who chooses not to be vaccinated must not be treated with discipline or termination of employment.

To be clear, this Government has not made any statements or implemented legislation mandating vaccination in the workplace. Therefore, employers should utilise the methods and guidelines currently available through the Ministry of Health to maintain public safety as best as they can.

Employers are reminded that they have an obligation under the Occupational Safety and Health Act 1982 and its relevant regulations to ensure, so far as is reasonably practicable, the health, safety and welfare at work of all of their employees.

If employees and employers have questions concerning employment-related layoffs or vaccination policies, they should contact the Labour Relations Section. Employers should also contact the Ministry of Health with any Covid 19 concerns or advice.

The Labour Relations Section is available via phone and email from Monday to Friday between 8:45 am and 5:00 pm and on 297-7716 or at sstephens@gov.bm. Additionally, employment violations may be reported through the job board at bit.ly/employerviolations

Thank You.

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Comments (5)

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  1. sandgrownan says:

    Problem is, Jason, vaccination will be made a requirement for hiring going forward. And there’s nothing you can do about that.

  2. Joe Bloggs says:

    ” Minister of Labour Jason Hayward will be holding a press conference at 10.00 this morning [Feb 3] and Government said it is regarding the topic of “workplace vaccinations and layoffs.” ”

    More electioneering from Brother Hayward

  3. Enough! says:

    Well maybe you should mandate like many other countries vaccinations. A good place to start: health care workers, teachers, grocery store employees and any other essential workers.

    Let’s get back to work and back to money in the pockets of Bermudians and food on the table.

    Show some strength and courage Minister.

    Put us under curfew, put businesses out of business with all your restrictions, but won’t mandate vaccinations for nurses! It’s like putting a bandage on a person with a serious illness. The demise of this country is at stake. Make the at times, unpopular decisions but the right ones!

    Stop whining!

  4. Marine Life says:

    OK, where is the Penalty to these Employers who Lay off the Unvaccinated? Government Needs teeth, not just words. You know people are looking at that page. And this will go on with certain dirty bosses. It is very difficult to get a truly good and fair boss. Power corrupts most. People forget that we ALL have the same needs to survive.

    • Joe Bloggs says:

      “OK, where is the Penalty to these Employers who Lay off the Unvaccinated?”

      Listen to what he says. The Minister has no evidence to back up his wild accusations. He doesn’t even know how many complaints, if any, have been made to his own department. This is pandering to the masses, not responsible commentary.

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