Investment in employees critical to growth
Shahine Robinson, minister of labour and social security, says her Government intends to marshal the passage of the Occupational Health and Safety law and implement the Disabilities Act, in an effort to create a more robust environment to support productivity in the workplace in line with her party's growth agenda.
She was addressing last week's opening of the Middle Managers' Conference, organised by Make Your Mark Consultants, with the support of the RJR Communications Group and Jamaica National Building Society (JNBS).
"This Act has been languishing for many years," Robinson revealed. "We believe that it's important, and that it is imperative for it to be passed into law in the interest of the Jamaican people," she said, making reference to the Occupational Health and Safety Bill.
She stated that the comprehensive Occupational Health and Safety Act will assist the country to achieve its goals in line with the 2030 Vision to "make Jamaica the place of choice to live, work, raise families, and do business."
Highlighting that the law will place more emphasis on the psychosocial aspects of occupational health, Robinson said that consultations and sensitization sessions are being held with stakeholders, including businesses, to build capacity in preparation for the implementation of the legislation.
She said the legislation will also place some businesses, such as fisheries, hotels, places of entertainment and even domestic spaces, under the inspection of the Ministry of Labour and Social Security.
Regarding the Disabilities Act, Robinson said this legislation will integrate persons living with disabilities into all aspects of national life, including the workplace, to allow them the opportunity to achieve their true potential.
She disclosed that under the new Act, the Jamaica Council for Persons with Disabilities will become a corporate body so as to strengthen its capacity to meet the needs of the more than 30,000 registered disabled people in the country.
Also speaking at the opening of the conference, president of the Private Sector Organisation of Jamaica, William Mahfood, emphasised that investment in people was critical to growth and expansion, noting that the labour force is the country's greatest competitive edge.
Maureen Hayden-Cater, an executive at JNBS, similarly underscored the value of investment in employees as a key strategy to growth and development, and encouraged middle managers to provide employees with the right opportunities for development.
Bemoaning that the country continues to lose its best minds to the rest of the world, Jacqueline Coke-Lloyd, managing director of Make Your Mark Consultants and lead organiser of the conference, said there continues to be a mismatch between business needs and prospective employees.
"We simply need targeted approaches with interventions that are right, and to implement the policies. It can be done."