NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Labour Director John Pinder said yesterday that many businesses appear to be waiting to see if the economy picks ups in the coming months before making a final decision with regards to employees who were laid-off or sent home.
Pinder said: “There are more people talking about it. Everyone seems to be waiting until the end of July for a final decision. The grace period should have ended in June.
“The government has extended it through the emergency order to the end of July. Now there is an extension of the NIB benefit and the government will fund it all the way to October. Most people are of the view once business picks up in August they should be in a position to keep the staff going.
He said: “A lot of businesses are in a wait and see mode. If things don’t pick up you can see people move from lay-offs to complete termination.”
The government has extended the 12-week mandatory redundancy payout deadline to 30 days past the end of the emergency protocols. This was designed to prevent persons from being fully terminated amid the COVID-19 shutdown.
The Ministry of Finance recently confirmed that $48 million has been allocated to finance an expansion of the government’s unemployment assistance program administered via the National Insurance Board (NIB).
The unemployment assistance is for workers that fall under four categories: self employed tourism workers who remain unemployed and were receiving assistance prior to July 1; and Hurricane Dorian survivors who remain unemployed and were receiving unemployment assistance prior to July 1; NIB contributors who are under 35 years old, who were unemployed during the COVID-19 shutdown but did not meet the contribution threshold to receive a benefit; and for individuals who have maxed out their 13-weeks of eligibility under the ordinary National Insurance unemployment benefit scheme.