Resort to continue ex gratia payments to furloughed employees
NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Baha Mar will offer remaining furloughed employees of the resort on West Bay Street ex gratia payments of 30 percent of their base salary for an additional 30 days as it continues its phased reopening and negotiations with the government on its unemployment benefits program.
In a memo to associates thanking them for their perseverance, Baha Mar President Graeme Davis said the resort understands that for those who have yet to resume work since the resort’s closure in mid-March of last year, “this kind of uncertainty is extremely difficult to live with”.
“To that end, we are providing up to a further 30 days at 30 percent of base compensation as an ex gratia payment,” he said.
“Furthermore, we will continue to pay insurance premiums necessary to maintain health insurance, life and accidental death and dismemberment insurance coverage.
“We are still in discussions with the government to try to add their financial assistance benefit on top of the ex gratia payment.
“Unfortunately, we have not been successful to date.
“However, we are not giving up our effort to lobby on your behalf.
“As we get closer to the end of January, we will revert back to you with further updates on extending benefits further.”
While as a guest on ILTV’s “Beyond The Headlines” last month with host Clint Watson, Davis encouraged the government to do its part and “act fairly” toward Baha Mar employees over National Insurance Board (NIB) unemployment benefits.
At the time, he acknowledged it was the government’s decision to only supplement Baha Mar’s ex gratia payment up to $100, but said he believes it is unfair.
The resort closed its doors amid the onset of the coronavirus in The Bahamas.
Reflecting on the closure this week, Davis said the resort made the “painful but necessary decision” to suspend operations.
The resort resumed operations at its Grand Hyatt property on December 17.
Davis said while the phased reopening only began a few weeks ago, the “tireless efforts of our Baha Mar family have once again shown the steadfast dedication that makes me so immensely proud to be a part of this team”.
He said the associates are the reason guests miss Baha Mar, and thanked them for their “kindness, thoughtfulness and warmth”, all of which the president said bring visitors back again and again.
“Baha Mar recognizes and greatly appreciates the courage you’ve exhibited over the last months,” Davis said.
“We care deeply for each and every one of you, and all that you do to make Baha Mar the most spectacular destination in The Bahamas.
“This has been one of the most difficult eras we have faced as professionals in the hospitality industry, yet our confidence in what we do, who we are and the future of this incredible property is stronger than ever.”