With the Christmas season now in high gear, the Labour Department is reminding employers and employees of some of the rules related to working overtime.

Many shops will be open for extended hours during the festive period and while employees may be expected to work longer hours, persons are reminded that overtime is not compulsory.

Unless there are unforeseen circumstances, reasonable notice should be given by employers of expected overtime and employees should also give reasonable notice where assigned overtime cannot be met.

Overtime rates apply for any work done after eight hours in a work day or more than five days in a work week.

In addition, employees are entitled to two days off per week and a lunch break after four-and-a-half hours of work each day.

The wage rate paid to Shop Assistants must be not less than $6.25 per hour and the rate for overtime is one-and-a-half times the normal rate.

Employers are also asked to remember that the opening hours for shops are from 7:00 a.m. to 10:00 p.m. daily.

Further details on the guidelines related to overtime or the Shops Act may be obtained by contacting the Labour Department, 2nd Floor, Warrens Office Complex, Warrens, St. Michael at 310-1500.

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