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Strengthening and protecting your rights

“It is not enough to be compassionate. You must act.”— Lhamo Thondup, 14th Dalai Lama

The Progressive Labour Party believes in easing the burden of our people in practical, impactful ways through legislation and policy. This approach is reflected in the Government's recent modernisation of Bermuda’s trade union laws and employment legislation.

Vance Campbell is a government backbencher and the MP for Smith's West (Constituency 9)

Through collaboration with our union partners, workers' rights, protections and benefits have been strengthened and expanded. Reflecting our core values and commitment to strengthening families, the PLP extended paid maternity leave to 13 weeks, giving more time for mothers to recover from birth and bond with their newborn child.

Recognising the vital roles that fathers play, we also passed legislation which provides five days’ paid paternity leave. For the first time in our history, fathers in Bermuda can take time off from work to assist their partners after the birth of their child without fear of losing pay or getting fired. This legal protection, however, removes the pressure of having to decide between attending to your family or your boss.

Thanks to the PLP government, new employees with at least six months of continuous service can take five days of holiday leave. Before changing the law, new workers could take holiday days only after one year of continuous employment.

Before reforming the Employment Act, an employer could legally terminate an employee for any reason and without notice during the probationary period. The PLP changed the law to allow employers to terminate an employee because of reasons related only to either performance or the operational requirement of the employer's business.

Additionally, the law now requires employers to provide employees with a midway performance review during their probationary period to identify areas for improvement. Previously in some cases, workers were given vague reasons such as “It wasn’t working out”, or “You’re not a good fit.” This practice was unfair to workers. Employers must now inform workers of their performance during the probationary period, so they are not blindsided by being let go without any discernible cause.

Did you know it is now a legal requirement for all employers to pay any wages and other remuneration or benefits owed to the employee upon termination within seven days or at the next interval that the employee would have been paid? We understand how stressful losing your job can be. Amending the law ensures that you do not have to wait months or, in some cases, years to get what is legally yours.

The PLP acts on behalf of all workers by tackling unscrupulous and abusive practices. For example, the PLP government has amended the law to require employers provide their employees with a meal break of at least 30 minutes after the employee has worked continuously for five hours. There is dignity in all work, and no person should suffer the indignity of hunger, exhaustion or mental fatigue at the hands of uncaring business owners or individual employers.

The PLP also strengthened workers’ protections by requiring employers to provide a written policy against bullying and sexual harassment in the workplace and to advise how to access it.

The PLP expanded bereavement leave to include grandparents, great-grandparents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren. This law now reflects our community values, thus fortifying the longstanding Bermudian tradition of acknowledging and honouring our elders and extended family.

The PLP believes that most employers are considerate of and make allowances for the needs of their employees, but it remained necessary to bring Bermuda’s trade union and employment laws into the 21st century.

Bermudians are family-oriented, and the PLP believes the country’s legislation governing employers, businesses, and workers must reflect and respect that reality.

Vance Campbell is a government backbencher and the MP for Smith’s West (Constituency 9)

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Published March 03, 2022 at 7:57 am (Updated March 03, 2022 at 7:48 am)

Strengthening and protecting your rights

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