Will businesses sever or retain staff as deadline closes in? BVICCHA demanding answers from government
With the October 31st temporary termination deadline one day away and still no official word from the Minister of Labor, Honorable Vincent Wheatley, the BVI Chamber of Commerce and Hotel Association (BVICCHA) is now demanding an official update from the Government of the Virgin Islands.
In a letter dated October 30th, 2020, the body which serves as the voice of the business community stated that they are “demanding urgent communication from the Ministry of Natural Resources, Labour and Immigration regarding the Government’s decision on the workforce furlough extension which expires tomorrow, 31 October 2020.
If this deadline is not extended, requiring severance payments will likely bankrupt many businesses. Further, it will become unduly costly to restart the hiring process.”
They have also made a petition for a further extension for businesses.
“With no announcement from Government at this time, the Chamber now respectfully urges that the date be extended to 30 November 2020 in the first instance,” the letter further stated.
During a recent public meeting in Jos Van Dyke, the Minister of Labor, Honorable Vincent Wheatley stated that the October 31sttemporary termination deadline might be extended to November 15th, 2020 to benefit employers and employee across the BVI.
The tentative November 15th date was however rejected by some residents who said they have persons ready to work, and further requested the date be extended to December 15th or 31st.
In response, Minister Wheatley said he is trying to find a middle ground by seeking a balance for both parties.
It was further stated that the government is also considering the possibility of a payment plan for severance pay, to buttress business owners facing financial constraints as a result of COVID-19.
In May of this year Minister of Labor, Honorable Vincent Wheatley, in an exclusive interview with 284 Media revealed that the Government is considering extending the 3-month temporary termination period to 6 months following the pandemic.
Business owners across the territory are anxious as we close in on the end the temporary termination period in trying determine whether to re-employ or permanently sever staff as a result of COVID-19.