Sun | Apr 11, 2021

Almost a million untouched by work-from-home order – Wan

Published:Tuesday | March 9, 2021 | 12:19 AMAlbert Ferguson/Gleaner Writer

WESTERN BUREAU:

Approximately 920,000 members of the country’s labour force are excluded from Prime Minister Andrew Holness’ work-from-home order aimed at curbing the spike in coronavirus infections.

That disclosure was made by David Wan, president of the Jamaica Employers’ Federation (JEF).

Data from the Statistical Institute of Jamaica (STATIN) put the labour force at 1,244,500 as at April 2019.

“We estimate that 74 per cent of those persons cannot work remotely because they are truck drivers, cooks, retail service workers, nurses, pharmacists, and so on,” Wan said. “If 74 per cent of the persons who are in the workforce can’t work remotely, that means that they won’t be getting paid, which will then create some problems.”

On February 28, Holness ordered public-sector workers to work from home where those duties can be facilitated away from the office. The order comes as a reintroduction of part of the strategic measures to contain the virus.

Jamaica recorded 26,904 infections as at Sunday. There have been 454 deaths.

The new work-from-home order for public-sector employees took effect on March 4. It will continue for around three weeks.

Private-sector companies have been urged to follow suit.

On Sunday, Richard Pandohie, president of the Jamaica Manufacturers and Exporters Association (JMEA), called for private-sector players to revamp and align their operations to meet the new protocols for COVID-19.

“I believe that companies need to really examine their workforce as best as possible to let people work from home because I think the transportation system has to be a major area of spread,” the JMEA boss said.