The Seventh-day Adventist Church has expressed concerns about sections of a ministry document tabled in Parliament last month on the flexi-work week arrangements.
Those arrangements are set to come on stream by March 2014, as one of the benchmarks for the International Monetary Fund agreement.
While welcoming a section of the document, which states that employers will not be allowed to unilaterally change the contracts of employees when flexible-work arrangements are implemented, and that the worker will be free to negotiate his days and hours of work, the church said there were still some challenges.
Speaking during a Religious Liberty Rally at the West Jamaica Conference Centre in St James earlier this month, Nigel Coke, public affairs and religious liberty director of Jamaica Union Conference, noted that some employees, mainly in the hotel and fast-food industries, are not recognising the Adventist Sabbath.
He pointed out that the Sabbath is from sunset Friday evening to sunset Saturday evening and not from 6 Friday evening to 6 the next day as many persons believe.
Coke added that employers allow Adventist employees the day off for worship on Saturday, but ignore the fact that it starts from Friday evening.
Coke further stated that due to the fragility of the job market, on a number of occasions, members break their Sabbath in order to keep their jobs.
He is hoping that Seventh-day Adventists and other Christians will have the right to state their day of worship, and that it will not be left to the employer.
He pointed out that a person's right of freedom of conscience and worship is protected in the Charter of Rights.
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