Over the next couple of weeks the Antiguan Trumpet will be engaging the mind of our readers with aspects of the Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code, as we aim to simplify it for our readers to understand their rights and responsibilities as Employees and Employers, we will start this series with the importance of the Letter of Employment
Any relationship must start on a sound footing. When a house is constructed the foundation must be solid for the house to last for generations. Likewise, the employment relationship must start on a solid foundation. That solid foundation is the Letter of the Employment. The Letter of Employment provides the employee with the expectations of the employer.
As a result, the Labour Laws of Antigua and Barbuda provides that when an individual is employed in any job, the employer must provide that person with letter stating a few things. This letter is known as the Letter of Employment. This letter of employment must be given to the employee within the first ten (10) days of the person being employed. Sometimes, this information is given in the form of a contract.
Below is the information that must be provided in the letter of employment. The letter of employment is not limited to the several items mentioned below but any thing that is pertinent to the employment relationship:
The general responsibilities and all other related duties which that person is employed to do. That is the person must be told what work they are employed to do. It is advisable that the individual is given the chain of command, meaning, who is their immediate supervisor and manager.
The regular hours and rest periods that the individual is entitled to. That is, what the normal hours of work are, the hour the individual should start working and what is the finishing time is.
The starting pay that will be paid to that personas well as how the pay is calculated. That is, that person must be told how that weekly or monthly pay is broken down into the hourly pay.
If the employment is not permanent, then this should be told to the individual in this letter of employment. That is, the period of time that individual is employed for, whether it may be three months or six months or one year.
The probation period if one is required. Probation is not automatic; therefore, an individual must be told that he or she is on probation. If the individual is not told that he or she is on probation, then none exist.
The employee must be told of the various leave that he or she is entitled. An individual by law is entitled to vacation leave, sick leave, public holiday leave and females are entitled to maternity leave. If there are any other leave that the employer may afford to his or her staff, this ought to be stated in the letter of employment.
If the workers of the employer are unionized, this should also be stated to the individual.
If the employer has any other policy, benefits or terms and conditions that are not in conflict with the law these must also be stated in the letter of employment.
An employer not giving an employee this letter of employment could create much difficulties with the employment relationship.