Bermuda revises employment and labor laws

Roundup of selected state health developments, fourth-quarter 2020

Changes to Bermuda’s employment and labor laws are slated to take effect on 1 Jun 2021. The Employment Amendment Act 2020 and the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 2020 follow a seven-year labor law review, and although they aim to strike a balance, the minister acknowledged the laws will “strengthen the rights of employees and organized labour.”

Highlights

  • Consolidation of 10 tribunals into one — the Employment and Labour Relations Tribunal — that will handle all employment complaints and labor-related disputes.
  • Statements of employment must include new information, for example, employees’ entitlement to rest days, meal breaks, and overtime pay.
  • The government will issue guidance on the differences between employees and independent contractors for use in dispute resolutions.
  • Employers must provide employees with written policy statements against bullying and sexual harassment.
  • Employees will be entitled to a meal break of at least 30 minutes if they work more than five continuous hours.
  • Bereavement leave will be expanded to include grandparents, great-grandparents, grandchildren and great-grandchildren.
  • Employees are no longer required to complete one year on the job before being entitled to paid time off from work to attend prenatal appointments.
  • Employers must pay outstanding wages and benefits within seven days of employment termination or by the next interval that the employee would have been paid.
  • Establishment of new rules on setting probation periods for employees, including new hires and newly promoted employees, and entitlement to a performance review during a probation period.
  • Introduction of new measures for terminating an employee for misconduct and unsatisfactory performance.
  • Establishment of a new requirement for employers to consult with employees about proposed redundancies and transfers of undertakings.
  • Unfair dismissals will face increased penalties.
  • Establishment of new civil penalties of up to $5,000 to replace most offences requiring court appearances. The minister will also no longer have the option to refer a dispute to a mediator.
  • Changes to trade union recognition rules and collective bargaining rules.

Related resources

Fiona Webster
by Fiona Webster

Senior Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Stephanie Rosseau
by Stephanie Rosseau

Senior Principal, Mercer’s Law & Policy Group

Speak with a Mercer consultant

Provide your contact information to get in touch
*Required Fields