Cabinet to discuss pandemic leave this week

Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus - Vidya Thurab
Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus - Vidya Thurab

CABINET’s finance and general purposes committee will discuss next week recommendations for pandemic leave to be granted to workers as TT deals with the covid19 pandemic, Labour Minister Jennifer Baptiste-Primus said Friday.

The guidelines, she told Newsday, were discussed at the Cabinet’s special meeting on Wednesday and deferred to its regular meeting on Thursday. At that meeting, Baptiste-Primus said, the draft policy on workplace guidelines was referred to the finance and general purposes committee.

The committee is scheduled to meet Monday (March 23). In response to a question about pandemic leave from Opposition Senator Wade Mark in the Senate on Tuesday, Baptiste-Primus said she was not yet in a position to say what will be implemented in the private sector, adding that Cabinet will deliberate on it and the information could be brought to the Senate subsequently.

At a news conference on March 15, Baptiste-Primus said workers who do not get sick leave and workers who may have used up their sick leave before the outbreak of covid19 will be able to access pandemic leave. Baptiste-Primus said the guidelines listed in a draft policy are intended to mitigate the logistical inconveniences coming out of the Prime Minister’s announcement to close schools and universities. She said the special-leave arrangements would apply to public officers, whether permanent, temporary, monthly-paid or daily-rated, fixed-term contract employees, short-term contract employees, on-the-job trainees and officers who fall under the purview of the Salaries Review Commission.

Going through the guidelines, she said children should not be allowed at workplaces, facilities and in company vehicles. She also encouraged workers who are not sick not to miss work. In homes with two parents, it was suggested that one parent stay at home with the children while the other goes to work.

In a statement on March 15, the Joint Chambers supported the measures the minister proposed.


"Cabinet to discuss pandemic leave this week"

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