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Labour And Employment Law

The practice has vast legal experience in all labor and employment related matters including advising both employees and employers on their rights and obligations.


Services include but are not limited to:


  • drafting and assessing various labor and employment contracts;
  • advising on the employment relationship;
  • advising for compliance with the Employment Rights Act, 2012-9; the Severance Payments Act, Chapter 355A of the Laws of Barbados, the National Insurance and Social Security Act, Chapter 47 of the Laws of Barbados and the Employment Sexual Harassment (Prevention) Act, which was enacted on December 15, 2017 and other labor related legislation;
  • representation before the Severance Payments Tribunals,
  • representation before the National Insurance Boards; and
  • representation before the Labour Department and Employment Rights Tribunals.


Ms. Douglin is a member of the Human Resource Management Association of Barbados (HRMAB), the Barbados Employers’ Confederation and the Employment Law Alliance.

Frequently Asked Questions

How are employees protected in Barbados?

Employees in Barbados are protected under several pieces of legislation. The main law is the Employment Rights Act 2012 (ERA). The ERA 2012 makes provision for the rights of employed persons and related matters. It includes the following rights:


  1. A right to a statement of written particulars which is to be provided at the commencement of a contract with an employee.
  2. A right to an itemized pay statement.
  3. Rights relating to lay-off and short time.
  4. The right not to be unfairly dismissed.
  5. The right to a Certificate of Employment Record.
  6. The right to a minimum period of notice.


Other Acts which provide protection for employees include Holidays With Pay Act (Cap. 348), Employment of Women (Maternity Leave) Act (Cap. 345A), Shops Act (Cap. 356A), Employment (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act (Cap. 346), Protection of Wages Act (Cap. 351), Public Holidays Act (Cap. 352), Severance Payments Act (Cap 355A),

What must the statement of written particulars include?
  • Employee name.
  • Employer name and address.
  • Date the employment commences/commenced.
  • Date of continuous employment.
  • Title of the job.
  • Description of the work for which he/she is employed.
  • Scale or rate of wages and the method of calculating wages.
  • Intervals at which wages are paid.
  • Normal working hours.
  • Probation period, if applicable.
  • Length of notice which the employee is obliged to give and entitled to receive in respect of termination of his contract of employment.
  • Period for which employment is expected to continue where the employment is not intended to be permanent or the date the employment is to end where it is for a fixed period.
  • Place of work. Where an employee is required or permitted to work at various places, an indication of that and the address.
  • Any collective agreements which directly affect the terms and conditions of the employment including where the employer is not a party, the persons by whom the collective agreements were made.
  • Any terms relating to the following:
    • Entitlement to holidays and holiday pay.
    • Incapacity owing to sickness or injury including any health scheme.
    • Pension and pension schemes.
  • A statement or note specifying disciplinary rules and a description of where an employee can apply should he/she be dissatisfied with any disciplinary decision.
  • The person to whom he/she can apply for the purpose of seeking redress on any grievance relating to employment.
When does the right not to be unfairly dismissed commence?

An employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed and this right comes into effect after one (1) year of continuous employment.

Dismissals for what reasons are considered unfair?

Dismissals for the following reasons are considered unfair:


  • Dismissal of an employee who was absent from work for a period of not more than one (1) year, although this time was certified by a medical practitioner as a result of an occupational disease or a work related accident;
  • Dismissal of an employee who was on certified leave from work for not more than twelve (12) consecutive months or periods totaling twelve (12) months in any one period of twenty-four (24) consecutive months;
  • Dismissal of an employee who has or is believed to have the HIV virus or AIDS or any other life threatening illness;
  • Dismissal as a result of an employee seeking office or acting as a workers’ representative;
  • Dismissal because an employee was proposed to become an officer, a shop steward or a safety and health representative or a delegate member of a trade union;
  • Dismissal because an employee refused to carry out an unlawful instruction given by the employer;
  • Dismissal because an employee participated in trade union activities outside of working hours or with the consent of the employer during working hours;
  • Dismissal because an employee removed himself from a work situation because he reasonably believed that it posed a serious danger to his life or health.
  • Dismissal because an employee is or was a disabled person, whether or not the disability resulted from an occupational disease or a work related accident, and the employer could have reasonably been expected to offer the employee alternative employment;
  • Dismissal because an employee was absent from work as a result of performing a national duty;
  • Dismissal because an employee is pregnant or a reason related to her pregnancy;
  • Dismissal based on race, colour, gender, age, marital status, religion, political opinion or affiliation, national extraction, social origin or indigenous origin of an employee;
  • Dismissal because of a responsibility of an employee for the care and welfare of a child or a dependent family member with a disability under the immediate care of the employee, being a responsibility associated with an emergency affecting the child or dependant family member with a disability.
What is the minimum period of notice that must be given by an employer to terminate an employment contract?

The ERA stipulates the minimum period of notice to be given by an employer to terminate a contract of employment. This notice varies according to the pay cycle and the employee’s length of service. If a contract of employment contains a provision for a shorter period of notice, the notice period stated in the Act overrides that provision.

When is severance due?

Severance is paid as a result of redundancy; being laid off or kept on short time; or dismissal due to a natural disaster.


Redundancy means:

    • The employer has ceased or intends to cease to carry on business for the purposes of which the employee was employed or to carry on that business in the place where the employee was employed;
    • The requirements of that business for employees to carry out work for which they were hired to carry out have ceased or diminished or are expected to cease or diminish.


For severance to be paid, there are several requirements which include:

  • the employee must have two (2) years or 104 weeks of continuous employment with the same employer;
  • an employee must be between the ages of 16 and up to the retirement age;
  • an employee must be contracted for not less than twenty – one (21) hours per week.
How is severance pay calculated?

An employee’s severance pay is calculated as follows:


    • 2.5 weeks’ pay for the first ten completed years of employment, calculated at his average weekly basic pay for the last 104 weeks;
    • 3 weeks’ pay for the next ten completed years of employment;
    • 3.5 weeks’ pay for the every completed year of employment greater than 20 years, but not more than 33 completed years of employment.