False hope - Workers resigning with wrong expectation of redundancy payment
Scores of employees have been resigning from their jobs with the mistaken expectation that they will receive redundancy payments from their employers, a Ministry of Labour official disclosed yesterday.
"There's a misconception out there among the public, especially employees, (that) when they resign, the company should pay them for their years of service," said Patreena Minto-Powell, acting director of the Pay and Conditions of Employment Unit at the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
She sees these types of cases almost on a daily basis but cannot give a specific figure as they do not qualify to be recorded as official redundancy complaints.
"When you explain to them, it is really sad because some of them resign after 15 years (of employment), but they didn't take the opportunity to come (to the ministry) before." Minto-Powell underscored the importance of persons contemplating resignation to first consult the labour ministry to help them make a more informed decision.
Helene Davis Whyte, president of the Jamaica Confederation of Trade Unions, is aware of the issue and points out that more public engagement is needed.
"We have to be educating our members that resignation does not qualify you for redundancy payments because redundancy payments, under the law, are clear. They are made when companies are reorganising and positions have to be removed," stated Davis Whyte.
Karl Williams, president of the Human Resource Management Association of Jamaica, told The Gleaner that he was not aware of such incidents, but he presumed that it would depend on the industry and not include white-collar workers.
Close to 1,700 Jamaicans filed complaints regarding redundancy and termination last year at the labour ministry, which translates to a 10 per cent decline over 2016. Minto-Powell pointed out that grievances with companies are cleared up, in some cases, with a simple phone call or letter. Other interventions require mediation, and in extreme cases, court proceedings.