At this time of year shops are usually operated for extended periods of time. Owners and managers are therefore  reminded that while co-operation regarding the need to work overtime may be expected, it is not compulsory for employees to work extended shifts. Reasonable prior notice should be given to employees who are required to work additional hours – unless the request is made in unforeseen circumstances. Likewise, employees should also provide adequate notice to employers when previously agreed periods of overtime cannot be worked.

Employers are also reminded that based on the Shops Act an employee is not obligated to work for more than five (5) days in any week; and that employees are entitled to a lunch break of one (1) hour if they are required to perform work for more than four-and-a-half consecutive hours on a given day.

Where an employee works in excess of the hours of his/her agreed shift on a normal work day he/she shall be paid at a rate that is one and a half times the employee’s ordinary rate. In addition, an employee is entitled to be paid not less than twice the amount of their ordinary rate of pay if he/she is required to work on his/her day-off or on a public holiday.

Operators of shops must take note that Christmas Day is a closed day by virtue of Section 4 of the Shops Act. Therefore, a licence must be obtained beforehand from the Chief Labour Officer in order to operate a business on that day.

For further information on the license application process (click here to download).  For other queries, persons may contact the Labour Department at one of the numbers below:535-1528, 535-1503, 832-0534, 832-0535, 832-0536, 832-0538, 832-0477, 832-0478 or by email [email protected] .

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