Minister of Labor, Honorable Vincent Wheatley, in an exclusive interview with 284 Media revealed that the Government is currently considering extending the 3-month temporary termination period to 6 months following the pandemic.
The Minister said “we are hoping to get it passed in the House very soon to extend that layoff period to 180 days (6 months)”
Minister Wheatley expressed that this will afford businesses an opportunity to recover revenue lost as a result of COVID
-19. He said “it does two things, businesses that can’t afford to severe persons right now will have an extra couple of months to get themselves recouped and rehire those persons.”
Business owners across the territory are anxious as we close in on the end of the 3-month temporary termination period as they try to determine whether to re-employ or permanently sever staff as a result of COVID
This approach may work against the interest of staff but the Minster said “those persons (employees) may feel disadvantaged by this extended period but they can seek other employment during that period.”
What the Minister said infers that expatriates may have up to six months to seek re-employment.
Up to press time 4,259 employees have been affected by the impact of COVID
-19; 1,140 BVIslanders and Belongers, 2,130 Work permit holders, 289 on Work permit exemption and 700 persons yet to be verified.
On May 28th, 2020, Premier of the Virgin Islands Andrew Fahie announced that the Social Security Board will facilitate a $10 million grant for unemployment relief, under the extended Economic Response Plan.
We will continue to keep you updated on this developing story as more details emerge.