Know your rights under the Termination and Severance Pay Act- Part 3 

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Last week’s column reproduced Part II of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act (1997), which addressed the “Continuity of Employment.” The previous week reproduced with Part I which covered the Preliminary (Introduction) of the Act. This week reproduces Part III, ‘Termination of Employment,’ which provides guidance to workers about the circumstances surrounding the termination of a contract of service.

The law is a worker’s most potent weapon. The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) holds the view that knowledge is power- the power that comes from knowing, not allowing yourself to be abused, or denied because you know your rights and can stand up, with conviction, to advocate for and defend these rights. GTUC continues to invite you to cut out these presentations and/or save them on your computer or telephone. Refer below to the first section of Part III of the Act:-

Part III



A. contract of employment for an unspecified period of time may at any time be

terminated –

(a) by mutual consent of the parties;

(b) on any ground of redundancy under section 2;

(c) by either party

(i) for good or sufficient cause:

(ii) by notice given to or served upon the other party

Unfair dismissal.

(1) The following reasons do not constitute good or sufficient cause for dismissal or for imposition of disciplinary action –

(a) an employee’s race, sex, religion, colour, ethnic origin, national extraction, social origin, political opinion, family responsibility, or marital status;

(b) an employee’s ago, subject to any law or collective bargaining provisions regarding retirement;

(c) a female employee’s pregnancy or a reason connected with her pregnancy;

(d) an employee’s absence from work because of sickness or injury certified by a registered medical practitioner;

(e) an employee’s absence from work due to compulsory military service or other civic obligation in accordance with any law;

(f) an employee’s participation in industrial action in conformity with the provisions of any law or collective labour agreement;

(g) an employee’s refusal to do any work normally done by an employee who is engaged in industrial action as described in subsection (1) (f);

(h) the filing by an employee of a complaint or the participation in proceedings against an employer involving alleged violations of any rule or law.

(2) A dismissal or imposition of disciplinary action is unfair if it is based on any of the grounds contained in subsection (I) or on the failure of any of the employer’s obligations under section 11 or 18,

Termination of employment during probationary period.

A new employee may be required to serve a probationary period of employment, but the employer or employee may terminate the employment at any time during the probationary period for any reason and without notice.

Summary dismissal for serious misconduct.

(1) An employer is entitled to dismiss summarily without notice or payment of any severance or redundancy allowance or terminal benefit any employee who is guilty of serious misconduct.

(2) The serious misconduct referred to in subsection (1) is restricted to that conduct which is directly related to the employment relationship and has a detrimental effect on the employer’s business.

Termination of employment for misconduct, breach of contract

11, (1) Where the employee is guilty of an offence in employment or breach of his condition of employment or any misconduct that is not serious or any misconduct on account of   which the employer cannot be expected to continue to employ the employee if it is repeated, the employer may give the employee a written warning.

(2) If the employee after being warned in writing pursuant to subsection (1) is guilty of the same or similar offence or misconduct in the following six months, the employer may terminate the employee’s contract of employment without notice.

(3) The employer shall be deemed to have waived any right to terminate the employment of an employee for misconduct if such employer has failed to do so alter having knowledge of the misconduct or at the end of any investigation of the said misconduct.

(4) The employment of an employee shall not be terminated for unsatisfactory performance unless the employer has given the employee Instructions as to how the employee should perform his duties and a written warning to adhere to the employer’s instructions and the employee continues to perform any duty unsatisfactorily.

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