Complaints made against employers concerning Late and Non-payment of Wages and Salaries
In the course of a few weeks, the Ministry of Labour has conducted outreaches within seven different regions of Guyana. The most consistent complaint and observation was the breach of workers’ rights by employers pertaining to wages and salary entitlements. The following Sections of the Employment Legislations are being contravened and must be taken into serious consideration by employers.
Foremost, the Labour Act Cap 98:01 defines wages “… as any money or other thing had or contracted to be paid, delivered, or given as a recompense, reward or renumeration for any work or labour done or to be done, whether within a certain time or an amount uncertain”.
Additionally, Section 12 provides that an employer shall pay wages either agreed between employer and employee or prescribed by law. This Act also specifically states in subsection (1) “… that except where there is an agreement to the contrary, wages shall be paid at weekly, fortnightly or monthly intervals as the case may be”.
Furthermore, it is important to note that, in accordance with the National Minimum Wage Order No. 15 of 2016, the prescribed minimum wage to be paid to employees 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 an overtime rate.
Also, 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).
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 companies and organisations 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 and organisations in default, along with all managers and employers.
All for your information and guidance.
Mr. Charles Ogle
Chief Labour Officer