Tourism, Arts and Culture Minister Randall Mitchell said he expects employees will come out to work on what would have been Carnival Monday and Tuesday, February 15 and 16, 2021.
In a response by WhatsApp sent to Newsday, Mitchell said,
“Carnival Monday and Tuesday are, as you said, unofficial holidays during our Carnival celebrations. Intuitively, where we don’t expect to host Carnival celebrations in February 2021, I expect those days to be normal working days.”
Employers Consultative Association chairman Keston Nancoo agreed, saying the two days are not official public holidays. He said employers had traditionally used different practices to deal with how employees came out to work on those days.
“Some employers gave overtime based on the practice, some employers gave their workers the option of taking the days as time off without pay, in other entities where there was work going on, people were expected to come to work or they did some kind of roster.
"So practice has dictated how businesses treated with it in the past.
"I don’t know, if there is no Carnival, that one can reasonably expect that the calendar days earmarked for Carnival would be holidays, I would like to think those would be normal working days. I don’t think people would take the two days off. To be brutally frank, that would be foolish, for you to take your time to do that, knowing that it’s not meant for the purpose for which it’s designed, because there’s no Carnival.”
Bankers Association president Karen Darbasie said while banks normally close for Carnival for security reasons, the association would have to make a decision which it would recommend to its members.
“Each member will take a position individually, as all businesses would have to do. Carnival is not a public holiday, so once business is continuing and it’s not a public holiday, businesses will take their decisions accordingly. As to whether people will apply for time off for that period, people have their vacation entitlement and would be able to use it as they see fit.”
Chamber of Industry and Commerce CEO Gabriel Faria said the two days are not officially public holidays and people would be expected to come out to work.
“I know many businesses have been supportive of staff in terms of giving time off, allowing people to work from home and so on, so from my perspective I expect people would come out to work. As to taking time off for Carnival, speaking as an employee, I would hope that in February 2021, I would still be employed and be able to come out to work at my job.”
On Monday, the Prime Minister announced that TT would not be holding Carnival 2021 owing to the covid19 pandemic.