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Apr 30, 2015

Labour Day Celebrated in Belize

On Friday, in Belize as well as in many other countries, the Labour Day holiday will be held to honor workers. From time to time, we hear about employee- employer issues, but there are countless other cases that are not broadcast. Some issues may be minor infractions and others may be huge offenses that end up in litigation. Well, the Labour Department says they are reaching out to the public to inform them about labour regulations as it relates to their rights and the rights of the employers.  And they are also targeting employers with services offered through their employment unit.


Marcelle Theus, Labour Officer II, Labour Department

“The biggest hot button issue is about sick, about holiday and about the amount of notice to give. What people have to realize is that we had in 2011 an amendment to the law and that is a big important to everyone.  Overtime is in there, how many notice that you must give and that there is a difference between dismissal and termination. So, for people to say I just want you to fire me so that I can get my benefits, that is not necessarily true. It is worse to be dismissed than to be terminated. So, we always ask to call the labour department so that we can at least give you advice before you move forward.”


Marcelle Theus

Paulette Wagner, Deputy Labour Commissioner, Labour Department

“The real function of this unit is to create a match between available vacancies and unemployed people- job seekers. What happens is that a lot of businesses in Belize, we want them to register with us but they are not registering with us right now. They have their own way of creating the match for the vacancies. What we find is that if we work together we will better match those vacancies and help to create longer employment relations because if you mis-match people you end up with high turnovers. Unemployed people or people who lose their jobs come to Labour Department for advice and support and there is a cycle. So we think if we can get our employers to use this service, we think we could bridge that gap, where in my mind; we are mismatching available workers and vacancies.”


Andrea Polanco

“So, do you have a database of unemployed people?”


Paulette Wagner

“Yes, we have a database of unemployed; a huge database but sometimes it is hard to move these people into those vacancies because like I said individually employers have their own database. So when they have a job they do their own hiring and their own matching and as we do inspections we see a lot of turnovers. If we go to a certain business spot, like in January and you go there in three months time you see new employees, so something is going on. So we want to help them to create longer employment relations.”


Andrea Polanco

“Is this a free service? How does it work?”


Paulette Wagner

“Yes, it is a free service. What happens is that we will register an unemployed person and record whatever skills they have, whether they are certified or by experience. If they don’t have any employable skills, we try to get them into skills training so we create links and recommend to get them into ITVET and the different organizations across the city. Then we would want that after they develop these skills, that we could place them but it’s the placement that we have an issue with. If we could encourage employers to use the service then that could happen easier.”

Viewers please note: This Internet newscast is a verbatim transcript of our evening television newscast. Where speakers use Kriol, we attempt to faithfully reproduce the quotes using a standard spelling system.

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