Wed | Apr 1, 2020

Overtime abuse not unique to guards

Published:Friday | July 12, 2019 | 12:34 AM


If we are to solve any problem, we need to be clear about what the problem is. The problem is that we tend to define the effect of the problem as the problem, rather than defining the cause of the problem as the problem. We usually focus on the effect and ignore the cause.

We have had very little effect on crime over the years, I imagine, because we are still not clear about the cause of the problem. Instead, we preoccupy ourselves trying to fix the effect.

While the position the Public Administration and Appropriations Committee has taken with regard to overworked and underpaid security guards is commendable, it is also quite hypocritical, considering that firefighters and the police, as far as I am aware, aren’t paid overtime allowances for working weekends, holidays and for working beyond the 40-hour workweek. Is it that the overtime law does not apply to people working in these essential services?

Defining the problem as security guards not being paid overtime allowance does not solve the problem of overtime allowances not being paid to workers across Jamaica, both in the private and public sectors.

Let’s be clear. The issue of overtime being withheld is not a private security guard issue.