Gopee-Scoon: Govt to finalise pandemic leave

In this November 2019 file photo, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon looks on as Ministry of Trade and Industry PS Norris Herbert and THA administrator, finance and economy Denese Toby-Quashie sign an agreement at the Victor E Bruce Financial Complex, Scarborough. Gopee-Scoon on Friday said the pandemic leave policy should be announced this week. -
In this November 2019 file photo, Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon looks on as Ministry of Trade and Industry PS Norris Herbert and THA administrator, finance and economy Denese Toby-Quashie sign an agreement at the Victor E Bruce Financial Complex, Scarborough. Gopee-Scoon on Friday said the pandemic leave policy should be announced this week. -

Trade and Industry Minister Paula Gopee-Scoon has said the details of the arrangement for pandemic leave should be finalised this week.She said so on Friday during a news conference at the Magdalena Grand Beach & Golf Resort, Lowlands.

Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus announced at a news conference on March 15 that consideration is being given by Chief Personnel Officer Darryl Dindial to introduce pandemic leave as a new classification of paid leave in light of the effect of covid19 on business operations.Dindial had explained this type of leave is different from sick leave and is meant to facilitate leave for employees who do not have sick leave eligibility as part of the agreed terms of their employment.

He said the leave applies to workers classified as short-term employees and temporary workers who only have sick leave, but no provision for extended sick leave.

Dindial also explained this leave will assist parents who are unable to report for work because there is no one to supervise their children while schools are closed until April 20.

A committee has since been appointed to work out the details of the arrangement.

Gopee-Scoon said on Friday the details should be revealed this week.

"We prefer not to deal with any specifics at this time," she told reporters. "I'll tell you that the committee came up with the proposals last Saturday (March 14). It went to NTAC (National Tripartite Advisory Council) so that we could be informed by business and labour."Gopee-Scoon added: "Following from that, it came to Cabinet and it is now going to go to the Finance and General Purposes Committee on Monday for the detailed look at all of the issues falling under it.

"So, you can expect something from us early next week about the details of it. We wouldn't want to offer any positions that probably need change. But it is receiving urgent attention of the Cabinet."THA Chief Administrator Bernadette Solomon-Koroma, meanwhile, issued a circular on Thursday for public servants with general guidelines on how managers and supervisors are expected to operate in the workplace in the midst of the covid19 threat.Solomon-Koroma noted, though, the details of the arrangement for pandemic leave are still being worked on by the Cabinet.

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