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Tuesday, 24 December 2019

Public Holiday Payment

Hi, my company is closing for 2 weeks for the Christmas Holidays into the New Year - does my employer have to pay me?

The answer to this is: "it depends".

The policy of some employers is to apply employees’ accrued vacation days to this period of closure, which ensures that there is some sort of remuneration for those days. Of course, if an employee’s vacation days have been exhausted, this will be an unpaid period of leave.

Beyond that, the law governing payment for Public Holidays in Trinidad and Tobago only protects certain minimum wage workers (i.e., those who work for $17.50 - $26.25 per hour) under various minimum wages orders under the Minimum Wages Act 1976, as amended:

Clause 3 of the Minimum Wages (Catering Industry) Orderclause 3 of the Minimum Wages (Shop Assistants) Order, and clause 3(2) of the Minimum Wages (Household Assistants) Order all state that a Worker’s weekly wages should not be reduced due to a public holiday falling on a regular work day.

This means that those categories of minimum wage workers MUST be paid at their base rates even if they don’t work on Public Holidays that fall on regular work days… however, the other days of closure will remain unpaid. 

Unfortunately for every other category of hourly or daily rated worker, there is no legal obligation for employers to pay during a period of closure. 

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