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For breaches of labour laws in fiscal year 2013-14 ... Employers paid $108m to workers in compensation

Published:Wednesday | July 30, 2014 | 12:00 AM

 Avia Collinder, Business Reporter

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security said there was an 18.9 per cent increase in complaints related to breaches of labour laws during fiscal year 2013-14, which one ministry source said may be due to ignorance of the statutes by some employers.

It reported that settlements made by employers in relation to breaches increased by $89.5 million to $108.92 million when compared to the $20.11 million during fiscal year 2012-13.

According to a ministry report tabled in Parliament last month, 7,758 complaints were received during financial year 2013-2014, an increase of 1,232 or 18.9 per cent compared to 2012-2013.

Acting head of the Pay and Conditions of Employment Branch at the ministry, Annmarie Rhodes, was not reached for comment, but one official, who did not want to be identified by name, said the increase in infractions could be due to low levels of knowledge among some employers about labour laws.

The largest number of complaints, 3,511 or 45.3 per cent, related to the Employment (Termination and Redundancy Payments) Act.

Next was the Holidays with Pay Act, with 2,782 or 35.9 per cent of reported complaints.

As a result of the complaints, the ministry said it pursued 2,335 investigations, 975 of which were conducted in relation to the Minimum Wage Act.

Of the $108.92 million paid out to workers, settlements for breaches of the Employment (Termination and Redundancy Payments) Act constituted the largest amount, representing 58.4 per cent of the payments, followed by the Holidays with Pay Act, with 26.4 per cent.

The ministry said the number of persons who directly received payments as compensation from employers for infringement of their rights increased by 499 or 16.9 per cent over the 2012-2013 period.