What are the legal working hours for employees in Jamaica?
The Employment (Flexible Work Arrangements) (Miscellaneous Provisions) Act was signed into law on November 24, 2014.
Prior to the passing of this act, Jamaican workers were entitled to work 8 hour shifts (10 hours in some cases). Under the new law, the ordinary work week should consist of 40 hours, and employees and their employers can agree to work up to 12 hours in a 24-hour period.
Another big change under the law is the removal of the special treatment given to Sundays. Formerly, most employers paid a double rate if the employee was required to work on a Sunday. The new law allows that ordinary work week can now include Sundays without any overtime pay requirement. All 7 days of the week are now considered working days.
Overtime pay will arises after the employee has completed 40 hours of work. That means, that if you reach the 40 hour limit on Thursday, then overtime pay should kick in for any remaining hours worked. Of course this system has long existed in our hotels, and in many call centres and Freezone companies. Now, as with everything else in Jamaica, the law is playing catch up.
Here are two examples of how the Flexi-Week law will affect the working hours of Jamaicans:
Example A: You work Sunday to Wednesday, 10 hour shifts each day.
10 hours X 4 days = 40 hour work week. No overtime pay is due.
Example B: You work Monday to Friday, with three 8-hour shifts and two 12-hour shifts.
8 hours X 3 days = 24 hours.
12 hours X 2 days = 24 hours.
24+24 = 48 hour work week.
8 hours of overtime pay is due.