NASSAU, BAHAMAS — Labour Director John Pinder said yesterday that if Christmas bonuses are a part of an employer’s contractual obligation, they should honor it, pointing out, however, that employees should be more focused on receiving a full salary given the current economic conditions.
The issue of bonuses being paid out while many companies and even government corporations grapple with massive financial losses has been brought to the forefront in recent weeks.
Pinder told Eyewitness News: “For some employers, the payment of a Christmas bonus is tied to the company’s performance. For the most part, it is written into the industrial agreement for those employees who are unionized. We recognize that businesses have been shut down for at least six months and companies are not making any revenue. Bearing that in mind, even the government corporations aren’t able to pay because of a lack of revenue and have not canceled it but postponed it until they are able to do so.”
Pinder added: “I am hoping that Bahamians are able to understand the situation their organization may be faced with in not having sufficient revenue at this time to pay Christmas bonuses. I think the most important thing right now is being able to get a full salary. If it’s under contract, it’s important for the employer to live up to those obligations of the contract. I think persons need to focus on getting a full salary to meet their financial obligations.”
Restaurants Bahamas Limited, operators of KFC Nassau, said earlier this week that despite its revenue taking a “major hit” due to the COVID-19 lockdowns and restrictions, its Nassau staff and managers will receive their full Christmas bonus. The company called on union representatives for understanding as the company seeks to split the bonus payment into two parts.
The Bahamas Utility Services and Allied Workers Union (BUSAWU), which represents line staff at the Water and Sewerage Corporation, has expressed disappointment over not receiving adequate notice of the corporation’s decision to defer bonus payments this month due to the pandemic’s impact on its finances.
Bahamas Hotel Catering and Allied Workers Union (BHCAWU) President Darrin Woods told Eyewitness News recently he was concerned that major Bahamian resorts were using COVID to alter contractually agreed terms and conditions such as Christmas bonuses.