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Govern Ment of Barbados Ministry of Labour

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In Barbados, there are a number of labour laws which define the rights and responsibilities of all agents in the workplace, namely employees, employers and any respective representative groups .  Generally, labour law covers industrial relations, occupational safety and health and labour standards, reflective of ratified ILO Conventions.


The principal labour laws in Barbados are as follows:


Chapter 23: Labour Department Act

Provides for the duties of the Chief Labour and other officers of the Ministry of Labour and for related purposes.



Chapter 42: Occupational Training Act, Subsidiary Legislation A1

Provides for the training of persons for, or in, gainful employment in occupations in all branches of economic activity in Barbados.



Chapter 47: National Insurance and Social Security Act, Subsidiary Legislation A1-T1

Establishes a system of national insurance and social security for Barbados providing payments by way of sickness benefit, maternity benefit, invalidity benefit, funeral grant, old age contributory grant or pension, non-contributory old age pension and survivors benefit and such other benefits as may be specified in the Act; to substitute for the Workmens Compensation Act, 1963, a system of insurance against personal injury caused by accident arising out of and in the course of a persons employment and against prescribed diseases and injuries due to the nature of a persons employment; to establish for the administration thereof a National Insurance Board and a National Insurance Fund; and for purposes connected with the matters aforesaid.



Chapter 160: Better Security Act

Provides for better securing an uninterrupted supply of water and light for the use of the community, and for preventing certain avoidable dangers to human life and valuable property.



Chapter 338: Accident & Occupational Disease (Notification) Act

Provides for the notification of accidents and occupational diseases.



Chapter 344: Domestic Employees (Hours of Duty) Act

Provides for the hours of duty of domestic employees.



Chapter 345: Employment Exchanges Act


Provides for the establishment of employment exchanges and for purposes connected therewith.



Chapter 345A: Employment of Women (Maternity Leave) Act

Provides for the grant of maternity leave to female employees and for the protection of the employment of those employees during such leave.



Chapter 346: Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act

Repeals the Employment of Women, Young Persons and Children Act and make new provision relating to the employment of persons generally including young persons and children.



Chapter 348: Holiday with Pay Act

Makes provision for holidays with pay for employees.



Chapter 349: Labour Clauses (Public Contacts) Act

Carries out the Convention relating to Labour Clauses in Public Contracts.



Chapter 351: Protection of Wages

Makes provision for the protection of wages of workers.



Chapter 353A: Radiation Protection Act

Gives effect to Article 10 of the Radiation Protection Convention, 1960, Convention No. 115 of the International Labour Conference, relating to the protection of workers against ionising radiations.



Chapter 354: Recruiting of Worker Act

Carries out certain Conventions relating to recruiting of workers.



Chapter 355A: Severance Payments Act Subsidiary Legislation A1-F1

Provides for the making by employers of severance payments to employees who cease to be employed in circumstances amounting to redundancy and for related matters.



Chapter 356A: Shops Act

Makes provisions relating to shops.



Chapter 356: Safety and Health at Work Act


An Act to make provision (a) for securing the health, safety and welfare of persons at work; (b) for protecting other persons against risks to health and safety in connection with the activities of persons at work; (c) for controlling certain emissions into the environment; (d) to consolidate the law relating to health, safety and welfare in the workplace; and (e) for related matters.

This Act was proclaimed on January 1, 2013 at which time the Factories Act, Cap 347 was repealed.



Chapter 359: Sugar Works (Minimum Wage and Guaranteed Employment) Act, ubsidiary Legislation A1

Provides for the prescribing of minimum wages and guaranteed -employment for workers employed in the sugar industry and for matters incidental thereto or connected therewith.



Chapter 360: Trade Disputes (Arbitration and Enquiry) Act

Provides for the establishment of an Arbitration Tribunal and a Board of Enquiry in connection with Trade Disputes and to make provision for the settlement of such disputes, and for the purpose of enquiring into economic and industrial conditions in the Island.



Chapter 361: Trade Unions Act

Consolidate and revise the law relating to trade unions.



Chapter 362: Wages Councils Act

Provides for the establishment of Wages Councils.


Employment Rights Act- 2012


This Act confers on employed persons, new employment rights. Among the rights provided for is a right to a statutory minimum amount of notice of termination for both employers and employees. For employees, the following are among the rights provided:

(a)    the right, at the commencement of employment, to a written statement of the particulars of the employment


(b)   the right, whenever salary or wages are paid, to a written statement of the particulars of the payment;


(c)    the right to be consulted before being laid off or placed on short-time;


(d)   the right, if dismissed for redundancy, to priority on re-hiring in certain circumstances;


(e)    the right, where employment has ended, to a certificate giving particulars of the employment including, where the employment ended by dismissal (should the employee so wish), a statement of the reasons for the dismissal; and


(f)    the right not to be unfairly dismissed.

  1. The Act establishes a tribunal called the Employment Rights Tribunal for the determination of issues relating to the new rights, but provides that complaints must first be referred to the Chief Labour Officer for an opportunity for a settlement to be reached by conciliation. If a settlement is not reached, the Tribunal is given wide powers, subject to an appeal to the courts on questions of law, to determine complaints. These powers include, in appropriate cases, the power to award compensation and to order reinstatement or re-engagement of an unfairly dismissed employee.


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