Blog

06 Aug
Caribbean Employers’ Confederation – Impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic

President Wayne Chen was interviewed by the International Labour Organization about how the Caribbean Employers’  Confederation and its members were impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Watch the video below, and learn about the ILO’s response COVID-19 here https://www.ilo.org/covid19

05 Aug
Vereniging Surinaams Bedrijfsleven (VSB)

The Vereniging Surinaams Bedrijfsleven (VSB), in English Suriname Trade and Industry Association (STIA) was established on 28 March 1950 on the basis of the principle of freedom of association. The VSB is the most representative employers’ organization in Suriname, accepted as such by the International Labour Organization (ILO) and the International Organization of Employers (IOE).

The main objectives of the VSB are the representation of employers and the private sector and the social-economic advancement of Suriname. The VSB therefore operates on a broad spectrum, since our focus is much broader than Decent Work, human resources management and industrial relations matters and includes areas of focus, such as, but not limited to, national development, sustainable development, regional integration, international affairs, international trade, HIV/AIDS and NCDs, LGBTI, persons with disabilities and cooperation with other non-state actors.

The VSB represents the private sector in various Constitutional organs, namely the Staatsraad (State Council) and the Onafhankelijk Kiesbureau (Independent Elections Observation Bureau), but also in other bodies, mandated by law, such as, but not limited to the Sociaal Economische Raad (Social Economic Council), Arbeidsadvies College (Labour Advisory Board), Ontslagcommissie (Dismissal Committee) and Bemiddelingsraad (Mediation Council).

The VSB actively promotes Decent Work, sustainable development, integrated national planning, Corporate Social Responsibility, entrepreneurship, the enabling environment for sustainable enterprises and social inclusion among other things. In 2018, for example, the VSB spearheaded the establishment of an Alliance for Decent Work for Persons with Disabilities, which brings together non-state actors and public organizations in order to promote decent employment for persons with disabilities, but also micro-entrepreneurship.

The current Chairman is Mr. Bryan Renten and the Executive Director is Mr. Steven Mac Andrew.

The general contact information of the VSB is :

Vereniging Surinaams Bedrijfsleven / Suriname Trade and Industry Association

Prins Hendrikstraat #18

POBox 111

Paramaribo

Suriname

Tel: (+597) 475286 / (+597) 475287

Fax: (+597) 472287

Email : vsbstia@sr.net

Website : https://vsbstia.org/

05 Aug
Strategies for Selecting Top-Quality Workers

Written by Mr. Dylan Downes
Labour Management Advisor
Barbados Employers’ Confederation

As all employers quickly learn, there is a difference between an employee who has been correctly matched to their job and organization, in contrast to one who has not. But, how do you find and match the right people to the right jobs? We often aim to achieve this by having a comprehensive people strategy and a well-structured recruiting and selection program. The key to successfully developing such a program lies in following a befitting recruitment process for the positions you need to fill. Resist the temptation to omit steps, because taking shortcuts during the process can negatively impact your results and ultimately lead to an increase in turnover rate or lower-than-expected levels of productivity.

Your first step is to make sure you have an effective job description for each position while ensuring alignment to Section 13 (2) (e) of the Employment Rights Act, 2012-9. Your job descriptions should reflect a careful thought process relative to the roles the individual will fill, the skill sets they will need, the personal attributes that are important to completing their tasks, and any relevant experience that would differentiate one applicant from another. Though this may appear to be general knowledge you would be surprised that there are companies which fail to develop or maintain updated job descriptions. Considering this, the BEC is one such organization that provides guidance and consultancy services to ensure that employers are up to and where possible, beyond par.

In addition to creating the job description, it is important to draft an advertisement, describing the position and the key qualifications required. Although some applicants will ignore these requirements and respond regardless, including this information will help to limit the number of unqualified and unsuitable applicants. It is recommended that you post the advertisement in the mediums most likely to reach your potential job candidates. Of course, social media has become the leading avenue for advertising vacancies, but do not overlook targeted industry publications, email blasts and the local newspapers.

Once the advertisement is posted, you will start receiving resumes; sometimes many more than you anticipated; especially in the current economy. Therefore, knowing what you are looking for in terms of experience, education and skills will assist you in shortlisting resumes effectively for the identification of potential candidates. After you have narrowed your stack of resumes to a handful of potential applicants, the interviewing process should commence.

In recent times we have found that companies do not see telephone-screening interviews as necessary or meaningful; however, studies have shown that the telephone-screening interview saves your company effort, time, money and energy. A telephone-screening interview will fast track or further short list your most qualified applicants in preparation for face to face interview process. That being said, you should not only rely on a resume and telephone interview when selecting the best applicant. But, also have a dependable profile assessment tool to help you analyse the core behavioural traits and cognitive reasoning speed of your applicants. For example, a good test will provide insights as to whether the individual is conscientious or lackadaisical, introverted or extroverted, agreeable or uncompromising, open to new ideas or close-minded and emotionally stable or anxious and insecure. These assessment tests can be administered in person or online. Online testing and submission of results can help you determine whether the applicant should be invited for a face to face interview.

During the face to face interview you should have a consistent set of 10 or 12 questions to maintain a structured interview and offer a sound basis for comparing applicants. Make your selection by matching the best applicant to the profiled job description. Prior to making your final selection it is advised that you conduct your due-diligence on the individual to uncover any potential problems not revealed by previous testing and interviews. Lastly, you should make your offer to the candidate. The information collected during the interview process will provide you with important insights as to starting compensation levels and training needs which are required. There is no absolute guarantee that each potential candidate will be a “perfect” match/fit for the organization. The above approach and the systematic processes of recruitment and selection will surely eliminate unsuitable candidates whilst leaving room for the best fit for your organization.

©Copyright, 2019, Barbados Employers’ Confederation

05 Aug
Managing Employees’ Expectations

Written by Miss Sheena Bradshaw
Labour Management Advisor
Barbados Employers’ Confederation

Human Resources professionals and management teams often face the difficult circumstances of incompatible employee expectations. This occurs when your employees’ expectations do not align with the reality of the business philosophies, ideologies and culture. Mismatched expectations can be severely damaging, to a Company’s image or brand, it’s ability to attract new business and to new talent. It also impacts on the bottom-line as the company incurs additional recruitment and time-to-hire costs, training costs and company resources are utilized in the process. Effectively, setting employees’ expectations is an indispensable component of successfully leading and managing a team, in addition to developing a culture of accountability. A poll conducted by Gallup found that only half of employees globally strongly agree that they are aware of what is expected of them at work because managers do not frequently communicate their expectations or communicate them well enough to influence their staff members. Quoting Marco Nink, senior practice expert at Gallup, “to free employees to take initiative and inspire high performance, managers need to set clear expectations, hold employees accountable for meeting them and respond quickly when employees need support.” Having clear expectations reduces confusion, misunderstandings, exasperation, bitterness, damaged feelings, futile conflict, as well as costly mistakes and rework. With clear expectations, employees understand the reasons behind the tasks they are assigned and are more motivated to problem solve when needed to achieve goals. The solution…try these three approaches to managing employee expectations:

1. Recruitment

While we all want to engage the best candidates to fill an open position, not letting them in on the challenges or struggles affecting the Company and position can lead to a culture shock and disconnect down the road. Therefore, it is advisable to give new hires and job candidates a realistic view of what the job will be like; showing both the positives and the negatives so the candidate can get a real feel for what skills and qualifications are needed to be successful on the job. Your candidate will become aware of your initial expectations and it empowers them to determine if the position fits into their career path. Written by Miss Sheena Bradshaw Labour Management Advisor Barbados Employers’ Confederation Managing Employees’ Expectations ©Copyright, 2019, Barbados Employers’ Confederation

2. Orientation Program

When was the last time you reviewed your orientation program? Do you ensure that all new-hires complete onboarding activities? These documented values form the basis of who you are as a company, what you stand for and value, how you do business and what purpose you are pushing for. By communicating this to new employees, you will begin to implant that culture and set employee expectations straight.

3. Communication

When delegating assignments, one should focus on some communication basics, such as being specific about what needs to be accomplished. When meeting to discuss expectations with the employee, begin by talking through the overall plan and objectives. The employee should have a good understanding of why the task is important to the business and how it fits into broader organizational goals. You must also listen carefully and respectfully to what the employee is telling you. This interaction will help build trust and synergy related to the task by showing that the employee’s talents and ideas are valuable.

It also sets the stage to solve problems constructively. By maintaining a productive, twoway conversation, you will be better able to coach and mentor employees through tough situations. Also, set-out the tasks specific to accomplishing the assignment. Help the employee set priorities and goals for their work; considering the employee’s current workload, skills, and developmental needs.

Include all the information the employee needs to successfully complete the task, such as the anticipated outcome, who is responsible and when the work must be completed. Always set specific dates and times to check-up on your employees’ progress before ending these conversations.

You will want updates on each employee’s successes, challenges, and status with the assignment, to avoid unpleasant surprises. When you set expectations and delegate effectively, your employees will not be the only beneficiaries. It positions you to better manage your own time and talents, but it necessitates the habit of managing the demands of the daily tasks, with coaching your employees.

©Copyright, 2019, Barbados Employers’ Confederation

05 Aug
Clarifying Leave Issues

Written by Mrs. Sheena Mayers-Granville
Executive Director, Barbados Employers’ Confederation

Human resources practitioners have been challenged to explore questions that commonly arise on various types of leave. Does paternity leave exist? How does compassionate leave work? How many days are allowed for National Leave? These are some common questions that Barbadians, both employers and employees, have on leave entitlement.

Let me first begin by stating that there are only two (2) instances where labour legislation requires that employers compensate employees for time away from work: holiday and jury duty. In the absence of legislation, on issues of leave, reference will usually have to be made to: Contract of employment or Employee handbook and/or Collective Agreement – these instruments give guidance on leave issues. However, in this article I will address some common and emerging issues surrounding leave.

Paternity Leave

Very often persons ask if fathers get paternity leave and how much. While paternity leave is not legislated in Barbados, it does exist in some organisations. If you want to find out about Paternity Leave in your organisation, you should refer to the collective agreement and/or the company handbook. Typically, paternity leave is for 3-5 days and is applicable where the employee’s spouse (as defined by family law) is the mother and usually must be taken within 1 month of the child’s birth. The BEC has a draft policy on paternity leave which is available to interested parties.

Maternity Leave

Barbados does however have legislation establishing maternity leave. The Employment of Women Act provides expectant and new mothers with 12 weeks maternity leave. The Act offers Protection from termination due to pregnancy in addition to seniority rights on her return from leave. However, it should be noted that a pregnant employee may be terminated for reasons unrelated to pregnancy such as misconduct or redundancy. Written by Mrs. Sheena Mayers-Granville Executive Director Barbados Employers’ Confederation

Compassionate/Bereavement Leave

Another area of silence in labour law is compassionate leave. While the law may not provide compassionate leave most employers will allow an employee time off when faced with the death of a family member. Usually the death of a spouse or parent will be viewed as priority and consequently in such instances employees will be granted the most time, averaging 3-5 days. Typically compassionate leave is only offered to close relatives which may include siblings and grandparents. While many Barbadians may request an entire day to attend funerals of other relatives, e.g. cousins this is granted at the discretion of management.

National Leave

Section 30 of the Employment Rights Act defines National Service and covers areas such as voluntary service in emergency management, selection to participate in a national sporting team or service in the Barbados Defence Force Reserve. While the Employment Rights Acts makes it unfair to dismiss an employee if they are absent from work due to the performance of national duty, the Act does not speak to matters of pay for National Duty. As a consequence, employers may, and have, established policies to cover such leave. Examples include allowing employees a maximum number of days with pay per calendar year for national leave, any leave in excess of the threshold is given as unpaid time. Alternatively, some employers have established a matching system where they will match the number of vacation days with the number of days granted with pay. Jury Duty is considered a form of national service; however, the Juries Act clearly states that employees shall receive their basic pay while on jury duty. Additionally, when not empanelled, employees shall report for work. When considering matters of leave, employees are often not cognizant of how much time off they request. Between PTA meetings, time off to attend funerals, sick days, doctor’s appointments and road tax renewals, employees can end up spending a significant amount of time away from work. Employees should appreciate that every request for time off may not be accommodated. Conversely, employers will also need to recognise that employees have a need for family life balance and where possible, they can seek to accommodate employee requests, of course giving due consideration to the organisational impact and co-worker concerns.

© Copyright, 2019, Barbados Employers’ Confederation

05 Aug
Clauses & Policies often Overlooked in the Employment Relationship

Written by Miss Chavonne Cummins
Labour Management Advisor, Barbados Employers’ Confederation

The post becomes available, the recruitment process is triggered and after a round, or several rounds, of interviews the best candidate is selected and an offer is made. An agreement is made between the parties and cemented through a legally binding contract. However, many contracts may not be as detailed as they need to be and often overlook clauses which become crucial at some point to the employment relationship.

While each contract differs dependent on the role and the nature of the business, highlighted below are a few of the most commonly overlooked clauses and policies which should be included in the contract and or the company’s handbook which govern the employment relationship.

The Retirement Clause

Retirement is generally one of those clauses which is overlooked at the initial stage of employment. Since there is no legislated retirement age in Barbados and only pensionable age as noted by the National Insurance Scheme (NIS) which is now sixty-seven (67) it is always useful to have a retirement clause captured in the contract.

Even though there is an option of early retirement which begins at age 60 from the NIS, there is a penalty imposed and these persons would receive a reduced pension. Having this clause reduces the potential risk of claims being made against the  employer as the employee would have agreed to the terms and conditions outlined. Thereby making it easier to provide those employees with notice that their retirement is expected to commence on a particular date and allowing them the requisite time to apply and start the process for their pension.

Social Media Clause/Policy

The use of social media has taken the entire world by storm. Individuals and businesses alike utilize various forms of social media to promote their interests, advertise products and services and communicate with others. As such it is vital that a comprehensive social media policy is included within the organization’s policies and procedures. By having such a policy in place, management would be able to minimize and possibly eliminate the misuse of social media while at work which can pose significant risks to a company’s confidential information, reputation, jeopardize its compliance with legal obligations and potentially have a negative impact on productivity within the organization. Therefore, instituting a clear policy would outline the do’s and don’ts to all employees regarding what they should and shouldn’t post regarding the company, as well as govern internet use while on duty.

Non- compete Clause

Some may say that this clause is often implied within the contractual arrangement and dependent on the nature of the business, many companies over look this area. Giving way to clauses such as confidentiality, which is an extremely important clause, noncompete clauses are equally as important. Of course, many employees may be involved in other activities or work outside of their daily jobs. While this is fine and the aim is not to prevent persons from living and managing their own personal lives, it is always beneficial to include a non- compete clause within the contract of employment which may even extend to a year of them leaving the organization. This may seem unfair to some; however, it may be necessary depending on the role that person assumed, especially where they had access to trade secrets and other information which they can take directly to the organization’s competitor or become the competitor themselves. This could very well have implications for the organization, its products and service offerings and customer base. As mentioned previously these are just a few of the overlooked clauses. However, there are additional clauses which need to be taken into consideration when entering into an employment relationship in an effort to avoid misunderstanding and potential legal claims.

© Copyright, 2019, Barbados Employers’ Confederation

02 Jul
Launch of the Database of the Alliance for Decent Work for People with Disabilities

The Alliance for Decent Work for People with Disabilities (the “Alliance” for short) has launched its database on good employment opportunities for the press and selected invitees. The database, which was developed by Spang Makandra, was launched on Monday, June 17th at 11:00 AM at the Digital Talent Academy venue.

The database provides a digital platform for registering people with disabilities (PWDs), who are in need of work or wish to establish a small business. In addition, the database will function as a follow-up system and or monitoring tool for the performance of PWDs who are employed and or have a business. It will also serve as a matchmaking platform for unemployed people with disabilities and businesses/companies that are hiring.

The Alliance is a joint initiative between the Association of Surinamese Business (VSB) and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP). The Alliance aims to promote decent employment and entrepreneurship among PWDs in Suriname. The proclamation of the Alliance took place in February 2018. Other entities participating in the Alliance are the Ministries of Labour, Trade, Industry and Tourism, and Social Affairs; plus organizations working with or for People with Disabilities, namely Nationale Stichting voor Blinden en Slechtzienden in Suriname (NSBS), Stichting Wan Okasi, and Unu Pikin.

Sidebar: