At Work in Kingston


Work Usage in Kingston


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The law provides for workers to negotiate their work hours and work days with employers. This is 'flexi-work'. The arrangement between the employer and employee is subject to a maximum of forty (40) hours per work week, among any number of days and for a maximum of twelve (12) hours for any work day. All seven (7) days of the week is considered as normal working days. Overtime applies after forty (40) hours of work or for work performed on agreed rest days and public holidays.

For these days banks, government offices, schools and other places for public services are closed. Private businesses may open subject to agreement with workers and payment of overtime rates. Some businesses allow workers a shopping day before Christmas. This is time off on a regular work day in the days leading up Christmas Eve. Retailers tend to remain open until way after midnight on Christmas Eve and New Year's Eve to make the most of the shopping season and accommodate shoppers.

List of Jamaica's public holidays
New Year's DayJan 1
Ash WednesdayMar 5
Good FridayApr 18
Easter MondayApr 21
Labour DayMay 23
Emancipation DayAug 1
Independence DayAug 6
National Heroes' DayOct 20
Christmas DayDec 25
Boxing DayDec 26

The weekend between Good Friday and Easter Monday, or any period when the public holiday precedes or follows directly a weekend, is called the long weekend for people who work Monday to Friday. Out-of-town trips are popular around this time.

Friday is normal for dress down at some work places. This means jeans when normally trousers or skirts apply; or polo shirts when oxfords are expected. The HR people at some workplaces may be concerned with the wearing of miniskirts, flip flops, active sportswear or sneakers on any day at work.

General guidelines for couture at work apply in Jamaica, including preference for business colours. These expectations are relaxed depending on where you work. For e.g., working in the office versus outdoors and the requirement for formality in a setting.

By convention, wage earners are separate from salaried employees (e.g., labour force surveys by STATIN). Wage earners are hourly rated employees, typically paid weekly. Salaried employees are paid a fixed basic rate, monthly. Workers paid on task or piece rate are generally grouped with wage earners.

Payments to contractors can take up to four weeks for processing after the submitted invoice is approved. More businesses and government bodies are paying employees and contractors using direct transfers to bank accounts. The requirement is usually that the credited account is with a financial institution registered for ACH transfers. These arrangements are cheaper for payment administration and more convenient for employees.

There is the convenience of Public and private parking in the city; but this is limited. Free parking spaces are scarce the closer you get towards business centres as New Kingston, commercial centres as Half Way Tree or Montego Bay, and places with lots of attorneys' offices as in Downtown Kingston. Companies generally reserve parking spaces for managers and higher ups on the staff.

Lunch time is normally one hour between noon and 2pm. You can let your colleagues know and take the hour outside this time span.

Jamaica is strong on industrial rights for employers and employees. This includes

  • Right to redundancy payment for workers dismissed for reasons of redundancy 
  • Right to a Minimum Wage to be paid to certain categories of workers
  • Right to holidays and sick leave with pay, and maternity leave with pay and
  • Right to work at a factory with certain provisions for safety and convenience

The Industrial Disputes Tribunal (IDT) hears matters arising between employer, worker and a trade union, including claims of breaches in terms and conditions of employment. But the IDT is engaged only if there is no settlement at the level of the workplace and the parties believe they exhausted efforts among themselves for settlement.

Note that Workers in essential services are not allowed to strike. Essential services sectors are Water, Gas, Health and Transportation.

There is the Jamaica Employers' Federation - the sole trade union representing employers' in Jamaica. The Federation safeguards and promotes the interests of employers in all matters affecting relations between employers and employees.

Update 13/02/2016


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