Should abortions be legalized in T&T?

Wednesday, 8 October 2014

T&T maternity rights: prenatal care

Q: I'm 5 months pregnant and I have been employed with a company for over 4 years now. Due to many complications in my pregnancy, I have to attend clinic regularly. However, my employer refuses to pay me for my clinic days because he’s not familiar with this being law. He even went as far as to get his consultant involved and apparently his consultant does not know about this either. I am beginning to think that I am the wrong one here; am I supposed to get paid for my clinic days or not?

A: Guide your employer to the Maternity Protection Act 1998:
  • 7. (4) An employee who is pregnant and who has, on the written advice of a qualified person, made an appointment to attend at any place for the purpose of receiving prenatal medical care shall, subject to this Act, have the right not to be unreasonably refused time off during her working hours to enable her to keep the appointment.
  • 7. (5) An employee who is permitted to take time off during her working hours, in accordance with subsection (4), shall be entitled to receive pay from her employer for the period of absence.

According to health professionals, reasonable prenatal visits should be:
• Weeks 4 to 28: 1 prenatal visit a month
• Weeks 28 to 36: 1 prenatal visit every 2 weeks
• Weeks 36 to 40: 1 prenatal visit every week

Now, if you’re having complications and your time off is more than this, then you may be hindering the operations of the company, and then I can see the employer having an issue. But that’s another complication by itself.

Thursday, 25 September 2014

Cohabitation and Common-law relationships

Q: I would like to find out how long do you have to live with someone in Trinidad for the relationship to be considered common law?

A: You’re considered to be common-law as soon as you start living together (cohabiting). However, cohabitees do not obtain legal rights until they have been cohabiting for at least 5 continuous years, according to section 7 of the Cohabitational Relationships Act 1998 and section 2 of the Distribution of Estates Act 2000.

Wednesday, 24 September 2014

T&T police officers drinking in uniform

Q: Are police officers allowed to purchase alcohol while in uniform? I had a serious debate with a police officer friend of mine who said it’s allowed.

A: This is a clear indication that some members of the Trinidad and Tobago Police Service are absolutely clueless about their job duties and responsibilities. 

Police officers CANNOT consume alcohol while on duty/in uniform, according to the Police Service Regulations 2007:

Regulation 150(2) Without prejudice to the generality of sub-regulation (1), an officer is liable to be charged with a disciplinary offence if he commits any of the following:

(l) Drunkenness, or drug taking, that is to say, if an officer, while on or required for duty, is unfit for duty through the taking of intoxicating liquor or dangerous drugs;

(m) Drinking on duty or soliciting drink, that is to say, if an officer—

(i) drinks intoxicating liquor while he is on duty; or 

(ii) demands, or endeavours to persuade any other person to give him, or to purchase or obtain for him, any intoxicating liquor while he is on duty;

(iii) reports for duty under the influence of intoxicating liquor or with the odour of intoxicating liquor on his breath;

It is also illegal to sell alcohol to a police officer, according to the Police Service Act 2006, as amended.

Section 61(1) A person who—
(a) knowingly harbours or entertains or, either directly or indirectly, sells or gives any intoxicating liquor to a police officer who is on duty;
(b) knowingly permits a police officer to remain in his house, except in case of extreme urgency, when on duty; or  
(c) by threats or by offer of money, gift, intoxicating liquor or any other thing, induces or endeavours to induce a police officer to commit a breach of his duty, 

is liable on summary conviction to a fine of fifteen thousand dollars and to imprisonment for one year.