Labour Ministry warns security firms about breaching labour laws

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See full statement issued below by the Ministry of Labour:

The Ministry of Labour is in receipt of numerous complaints filed against Security Firms across Guyana. As a result, the Ministry wishes to remind employees, and more so employers, of the rights and entitlements of Security Guards, whether or not they are nationals of Guyana. The following Sections of the Employment Legislations are the most prominently violated in the Security sector; they are listed to shed some light on a seemingly dark area.

Firstly, Section 3 of the ‘Leave with Pay Act Cap 99:02’ states that every worker is entitled to leave and further elucidates how leave is to be computed. Section 4 of the said Act mandates that no employer shall require a worker to take his/her leave with pay in a period less than six consecutive days; provided that any of the days which are Sundays or Public Holidays shall not be computed as leave with pay. Additionally, the rate at which leave is calculated is at an employee’s current daily wage: Section 5(1).

Kindly note that any provision in any agreement between an employer and a worker, whereby the worker purports to contract himself at variance with the provisions of the Leave with Pay Act, or whereby the worker undertakes to receive any less benefit than he/she is entitled to under the said Act shall be of no effect.

Secondly, Section 12 of the Labour Act Cap 98:01 provides that an employer shall pay wages either agreed between employer and employee or prescribed by law. The prescribed wages for Security Guards as set out in the National Minimum Wage Order No. 15 of 2016 is $255 per hour. The Order also stipulates that the set hours of work are 40 hours which shall not exceed 5 days per week and any hours of work beyond the normal period shall attract overtime rate. The Ministry was also made aware of employers who constantly engage in the act of part payment of wages at the end of the pay period after the workers would have worked the full period. Employers who engage in such acts should cease and desist immediately.

The Ministry of Labour wishes to publicly condemn the actions of employers who have contravened the abovementioned Sections of Guyana’s Labour Laws. In an attempt to fulfill our mandate of ‘protection of the rights of workers’, the Ministry will prosecute said offenders to the full extent of the Law upon receipt of any formal complaint.

This notice serves to edify those who may not have been aware and also to warn the proprietors and Directors of Security Firms currently in breach of the aforementioned provisions. Entities not in compliance should take active and immediate steps to conform with the various Legislations governing employment relations; failing which, the Ministry will be forced to publish the names of companies in default, along with all Directors or the names of the Businesses and their proprietors.

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