Employ Candidates Compliantly in Jamaica

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  1. Overview: Jamaica
  2. Global HR Compliance
  3. Global PEO and Payroll
  4. Work permit for hiring expats via PEO
  5. Expand without a company set up
  6. Contractor vs. employee: which is better?
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Global HR Compliance in Jamaica

If you hire international workforce, or plan to hire, then Hiring and Firing Workforce in Jamaica Guide below will help you understand the nuances of labor legislation in the country.

There are two main reasons for companies hiring foreign workforce:

  • Expanding into foreign markets to sell company product or products there. In this case, companies hire sales representatives who would exclusively represent their product in the target market and sell it to their local client base.
  • Hiring the right foreign talent with a unique expertise, often related to IT sphere that cannot be found in the home country or that costs less compared to local specialist with similar skills.

After you have found the right candidate, the question is how to hire and provide compensation to this person so you as a business remain 100% compliant when working with global workforce. Another thing to consider is whether you want to keep the talent long-term and how you can do that.

If you need to hire foreign workforce in Jamaica so you can expand there, then our Global Employer of Record solution may be of help. We help you legally hire and reward your foreign workforce by making them employees via a global employment outsourcing service. This is simple as employ your in-house workforce with the only difference that workers can live anywhere in the world and Acumen International would be their legal employer on your behalf. This means we would bear all employment risks, not you. Also, we manage bonuses, vacations, sick leave and can rent the office and a car for your foreign sales representatives if that is what you need.

With our solution, you can test new foreign markets before deciding whether you are going to get established there. You gain flexibility and expand with reduced costs, and easily withdraw from the unattractive countries.

We are experts in global workforce employment in Jamaica, and our goal is to become your single provider. Instead of working with numerous local staffing agencies and legal advisors, Acumen International can solve your global business challenges and save you time, costs, and resources.

Our team of English-speaking professionals frees you from working through language nuances. Acumen International works 24/7 and can assist you whenever you need, regardless of time zones. Our goal is to create tailored labor solutions for you that are managed legally and in full compliance with the local employment laws.

With our knowledge and deep understanding of local nuances, you easily satisfy your need for skilled professionals in your global industry. With our qualified local partners, you can trust that your global workforce satisfies all local tax, social security, and immigration requirements in Jamaica.

See the guide below for a general overview of labor rules and regulations in Jamaica. Or contact us if you need to employ workers in Jamaica or would like to get more details.

Hiring and Firing Workforce in Jamaica Guide

# Employment contracts
The employee has a responsibility, to his employer to perform his contract of service to the best of his ability, to his trade union to support it financially and to vest in it the necessary authority for the performance of its functions efficiently; to his fellow workers in ensuring that his actions do not prejudice their general well-being including theft health and safety; to the nation by ensuring his dedication to the principle of productive work for the good of all.

The legal relationship between employer and worker is determined by the individual contract of employment. Often many of its terms are fixed by collective bargaining and contained in collective agreements. The worker should familiarize himself with the terms of his contract, and in particular any procedure for the dealing with grievances, and abide by them. Some employees have special obligations arising out of the nature of their employment. Such worker when acting in the course of his employment should be mindful of those obligations and should refrain from action which conflicts with them.

# Minimum (Statutory) Employment Rules and Regulations in Jamaica

# Hours of work:
Jamaican workers were entitled to work 8 hour shifts (10 hours in some cases). Under the law, the ordinary work week should consist of 40 hours, and employees and their employers can agree to work up to 12 hours in a 24-hour period.

# Probation period:
No statutory regulation on the length of the trial period, it depends on the agreement between employer and employee. When the employment contract contains a probationary period, either party may terminate the contract without notice during the probationary period or, where the probationary period is more than 90 days, during the first 90 days thereof. Collective agreements generally stipulate probationary periods from 3 months to 6 months.

# Annual leave:
For each year of employment, (each 12-month period from the first day of employment) the worker qualifies, and becomes eligible for paid vacation leave. The Holidays with Pay Order, thus stipulates the minimum vacation leave to be granted and the method of qualifying.

The main principle is that a worker earns vacation leave by virtue of working for a certain number of days in a year. In principle and by law, vacation leave is paid before the holiday begins, or at any other time agreed upon by the parties concerned. Vacation leave cannot be granted during a period of notice given by the employer to terminate employment.

# Parental leave:
A female worker is entitled to three (3) paid maternity leave, while in the employ of the same employer. The Maternity Leave Act applies to all qualified female workers, irrespective of whether or not she is married.

Absence from work through the granting of maternity leave shall not constitute a break in the continuity of the worker’s employment. Indeed, prior to the passing of the Maternity Leave Act in 1979, the continuity of the female’s employment, for the most part, was broken upon resumption to work from maternity leave, notwithstanding the fact, that the leave in itself, was left up to the discretion of the employer.

To qualify for maternity leave it is essential and indeed mandatory that the worker:

  • Be at least 18 years old;
  • Be continuously employed, for a minimum of 52 weeks by the same employer as at the date the maternity leave begins, (the worker must have completed 52 weeks prior to going on maternity leave);
  • Inform her employer in writing, of her intended absence from work owing to her pregnancy and that she intends to return to work; (this should be done by the 29th week of pregnancy);
  • Present a medical certificate to her employer stating that it is necessary for her to be absent owing to reasons of pregnancy, if she is requested by her employer to present same;
  • Be at least 28 weeks pregnant and;
  • Should be working a minimum of 18 hours per week, (not necessary to work a 40 hour-work-week).
  • A qualified worker is entitled to a minimum of twelve (12) weeks maternity leave: – the first eight (8) weeks of which should be paid for; while the last four (4) weeks will be without pay;
  • If there is medical reason that necessitates an extension of the initial 12 weeks of maternity leave (either arising from the illness of mother or child), then the Act provides an additional fourteen (14) weeks leave on submission of a medical certificate;
  • This extension, if necessary, will not be paid for, unless the employer wishes to do so.

# Sick leave:
Any worker, other than a casual worker, who becomes ill sick leave during the first twelve months of his employment shall, if he has worked with pay. for his employer on not less than 110 days be entitled to be granted, during those twelve months, sick leave with pay of a duration of 1 day for every 22 days on which he so worked.

Any worker, other than a casual worker, who becomes ill after the first twelve months of his employment shall be entitled to be granted, in each period of twelve months after the first, sick leave with pay of a duration of 2 normal working weeks. A worker shall not be entitled to be granted sick leave with pay under this Order for any period of illness:

  • in respect of which he is entitled to be paid sick benefit or employment injury benefit under the National Insurance Act or compensation under the Workmen’s Compensation Act; or
  • in respect of which:
    • he fails to satisfy any condition relating to the granting of sick leave with pay contained in an agreement;
    • where there is no condition of the kind, he fails to notify his employer of his illness during the first working day after its occurrence and, if the period exceeds three days to furnish his employer with a certificate from a registered medical practitioner stating that he is ill and specifying the period during which he will, by reason of such illness, be unable to perform his duties.

# Overtime:
Formerly, most employers paid a double rate if the employee was required to work on a Sunday. The new law allows that ordinary work week can now include Sundays without any overtime pay requirement. All 7 days of the week are now considered working days.

# State minimum salary:
The Jamaica minimum wage is J$6,200 per week for all workers except private security guards, whose minimum wage is J$5,500 per week. Jamaica’s minimum wage was last changed in March 2016.

# Employee dismissal:
The minimum period of notice needed for an employer to end the contract of employment of an employee who has been continuously employed for four (4) weeks or more (a) two (2) weeks, if the employee has been working for less than five (5) years; `
(b) four (4) weeks, if the employee has been working for five (5) but less than ten (10) years;
(c) six (6) weeks, if the employee has been working for ten (10) but less than fifteen (15) years;
(d) eight (8) weeks, if the employee has been working for fifteen (15) but less than twenty (20) years;
(e) twelve (12) weeks, if the employee has been working for twenty (20) years or more.

One employee or more who has been continuously employed for four (4) weeks or more is required to give his employer at least two (2) week’s notice to end the contract of employment. The notice to end employment should be in writing unless given in the presence of a ‘credible witness’. The employment contract may be ended without notice by either party during the first (90) days of a period of probation.

The contract of employment may be ended without notice by either party, where the conduct of one party justifies the termination. If an employer intends to end a contract based on the behaviour of an employee, he must do so within four (4) weeks of becoming aware of the employee’s behaviour. After that period the employer cannot terminate by reason of that behaviour without notice. Employment contracts which are for a fixed duration may be ended without notice when the contract period expires.

If a fixed- term contract of employment continues for a further four (4) weeks after the expiry date, then either party is entitled to periods of notice as if the contract was for an indefinite period. An employee who has been continuously employed for at least 104 weeks is considered to be dismissed by reason of redundancy if:

  • the employer ceases to carry out work that he/ she was hired to do;
  • the kind of work that he/ she was hired to do has been reduced;
  • the employer’s business has been shut down;
  • he/ she has suffered personal injury as a result of an accident or developed a disease because of the nature of the job.

2. A seasonal worker who has worked with an employer for not less than 90 days in each season for two or more consecutive seasons may be dismissed by redundancy:

  • for the reason stated at (1);
  • if the employer fails to provide him with employment in any season.
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