Ministry outlines Emancipation Day regulations
The Ministry of Labour and Social Security has said Emancipation Day will be observed on Saturday, August 1.
Director of legal services at the ministry, Camille Bennett-Campbell, said according to the Holidays (Public General) Act, no provision is made for a change in the day the holiday is observed.
"In relation to Emancipation Day, it says, in paragraph five, that if the first day of August falls on a Sunday, then the following Monday (is observed as a holiday). Notice it did not say where it falls on a Saturday. [Therefore] because it is on a Saturday, we will celebrate it on the Saturday [and], not on the Monday, in accordance with the law," she pointed out.
The only exception, she added, is in the case of Labour Day. "If Labour Day falls on a Saturday or Sunday, then it is to be celebrated on the Monday. This is because of the nature of Labour Day and its genesis ... in workers' rights, so it is celebrated on a weekday," Bennett-Campbell said.
She also stressed that the law prohibits persons from entering into arrangements to work on public holidays. However, it allows for special arrangements to be made to work leading up to the holiday. The law also stipulates payment for work done on a holiday.
"For minimum-wage persons, according to the National Minimum Wage Order, they are supposed to be paid double-time rate for working on a public holiday. For other persons, it would depend on what is in their contract of employment and what is their custom or practice. So, if you are always paid extra for working on a holiday, and you're a minimum wage earner, that should still obtain," she said.