Know Your Rights under the Termination and Severance Pay Act- Part III of 3 

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This is the fifth and final installment of the Termination of Employment and Severance Pay Act. This installment is the continuation of Part III, ‘Termination of Employment,’ which deals with notice and certification of termination, determination by the Chief Labour Officer, complaints of unfair dismissal, and remedies.
The Guyana Trades Union Congress (GTUC) trusts, armed with the law, workers will not accept their rights being trampled on by any employer, be that employer from the public or private sector.

Knowledge is power and there is nothing greater than workers’/people’s power. For when we fight, provoked by their aggression, we must know what we are fighting for and what becomes necessary for us to fight with. There ought to be no fear for whomever we come up against because in our quiver are arrows sharp enough to repel tyranny and injustice.

Last week reproduced the second part of Part III, ‘Termination of Employment,’ which provides guidance to workers in dealing with termination under the redundancy clause. The previous week we dealt with the first installment of Part III, ‘Termination of Employment,’ which provided guidance around the circumstances surrounding the termination of a contract of service. And the prior two weeks Part II of the Act which addressed the “Continuity of Employment,” and Part I which covered the Preliminary (Introduction) of the Act.

GTUC continues to invite you to cut out these presentations and/or save them on your computer or telephone. You can never tell when this information would come in handy for you, your co-worker or loved ones. Refer below to the final installment of Part III of the Act:-

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Part III

TERMINATION OF EMPLOYMENT

Notice period.

15. (1) Where a contract of employment for an unspecified period of time Is being terminated for any reason of redundancy under section 12, or by notice under Section 7 (c) (ii) such contract of employment, shall except during the probationary period, be terminated by the employer upon giving the following minimum period of notice in writing-

(a) two weeks where the employee has been employed by the employer for less than one year;

(b) one month, where the employee has -been employed by the employer for one year or more.

15. (2) Where the employee terminates his contract of employment with the employer, the periods of notice under subsection (1) shall also be the periods of notice that such employee shall give to his employer.

15. (3) The periods of notice under subsection (1) shall not apply where the employer is entitled to summarily dismiss an employee under this Part.

15. (4) A notice of termination under subsection (1) shall not be given by an employer during an employee’s period of absence on any authorised leave granted under any employment law or the employee’s contract of employment.

15. (5) Nothing in this section shall prevent –

(a) the parties to the contract from agreeing to a longer period of notice of termination than is provided for in this section:

(b) an employer waiving the right, to receive notice under subsection (2),

Payment in lieu of notice.

16. (1) In lieu of giving notice of termination under section 15 (1) the employer shall pay the employee a sum equal to the remuneration and benefits due to the employee up to the expiry of any required period of notice.

16. (2) In lieu of giving notice of termination under section 15 (2), the employee shall pay the employer a sum equal to the remuneration and benefits payable by the employer to the employee up to the expiry of any required period of notice.

Certificate of termination.

17. On the termination of a contract of employment an employer, if so requested by the employee, shall provide the employee with a certificate of termination.

18. (1) An employer shall be entitled to take disciplinary action other than dismissal against an employee when it is reasonable to do so under the circumstances.

18. (2) For purposes of this section “disciplinary action” includes in order of severity –

(a) a written warning;

(b) suspension without pay.

18. (3) No employer may impose a fine or other monetary penalty on an employee.

18. (4) In deciding what is reasonable under the circumstances pursuant to subsection (1), the employer shall have regard to the nature of the violation, the employee’s duties, the nature of any damage incurred and the previous conduct and the circumstances of the employee.

18. (5) A complaint that disciplinary action is unreasonable may be made to the Chief Labour Officer for determination.

18. (6) Where any determination under subsection (5) reveals that any disciplinary action under this section was unreasonable such disciplinary action shall be withdrawn and in the case of any disciplinary action under subsection (2) (b), any payment withheld shall be refunded and the employee reinstated in his employment.

Complaints of unfair dismissal.

19. Without prejudice to any right an employee may enjoy under a collective agreement, such employee shall have the right to seek redress from the High Court where he is unfairly dismissed or disciplined in violation of section 8.

Remedies.

20. (1) If the employee’s complaint of unfair dismissal or imposition of disciplinary action is proved to the satisfaction of the High Court it shall award the employee compensation as specified in subsections (2) and (3).

20. (2) An award of compensation shall be such amount as the Court considers just and equitable in all the circumstances having regard to the loss sustained by the employee as a consequence of the dismissal or discipline in so far as that loss is attributable to action taken by the employer, and the extent if any to which the employee caused or contributed to the dismissal or discipline.

20. (3) The High Court may, if it deems fit, award any other just remedy in addition to or in lieu of the award referred to in subsection (2).



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