EMPLOYER OBLIGATIONS WITH REGARDS TO LAYOFFS

The Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services in collaboration with the Labour and Employment Services in particular, would like to remind employers of their obligations and employees of their rights with regards to Lay-offs and short–time.

We are conscious of the economic strain that the Covid-19 pandemic has placed on the business community in the Turks and Caicos Islands and the world at large. However, Employers are hereby reminded that any change to salary and benefits must be communicated to staff.

Failing to communicate or come to an agreement means that the current contract takes precedence.

We are aware of persons being laid-off or work hours being decreased i.e. placing staff on short-time. Employers are not allowed to force staff to take leave unless it is in line with section 8. (4) of the Employment Order, which states: “An employee who fails to take vacation with pay within six weeks after it becomes due shall lose his entitlement to such vacation.”

The public is further reminded that in accordance with Section 102 (d) of the Immigration Ordinance 2018 Revised, it is an offence to remain within the Islands beyond the time permitted by an Immigration Officer. A person commits an offence and is liable on summary conviction to a fine of $10,000.00 or to imprisonment for a term of two years, or to both; and if the offence is a continuing one, to a further fine not exceeding $100 for every day or part of a day on which the offence has continued.

Employers are to note that if you terminate a work permit holder during the period of airport closure, you are still responsible for the individual until it is reasonably possible for that person or persons, to leave the country.

Employers must also ensure that they are in full compliance with section 106 (2) of the Employment Ordinance, by ensuring that their employee/s are still in housing until they depart the Turks and Caicos Islands.

Employers do not have the authority to release a work permit holder to take up employment with another employer. This is an offence. A permit status can only be changed by the Director of Immigration, the Work Permit Board or the Commissioner of Labour and Employment Services, for persons to reside or engage in gainful occupations respectfully. These Permits are also issued with conditions or restrictions, as set out in the Permit.

Self-employed, and employed persons are reminded of their obligation to adhere to the conditions of their Work Permits as imposed by the Immigration Board.  Anyone who fails to comply with the conditions contained within their Work Permits in accordance with Regulations 35 and 42 commits an offence and is subject to prosecution.

As such, full adherence to the conditions is expected and if you have any questions with regards to your employment rights or status in the Turks and Caicos Islands, please contact our hotline numbers as follows: Persons in Grand Turk, South Caicos, Salt Cay and Ambergris Cay, please call 649-348-2372 and persons in North & Middle Caicos, Parrot Cay, Pine Cay and Providenciales, you are asked to call 649-348-3085.

As stated previously, work permit holders whose employment has been terminated and cards cancelled, will need to make travel arrangements immediately through the tourist board email address:This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.

Please provide the following information at the time of registration:

Name

Number of Persons in your travelling party

Contact information

Country of origin/destination

The Employment Services Department is also encouraging all Belongers who are unemployed to register with the department. By you registering, the department will assist in finding suitable employment and ensure that your NHIP benefits continue.

You may register in person at the office or via email at This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. by submitting your resume along with a copy of your Belonger and NHIP card. If you have any questions, please the hotline number at: 649-348-9340

The Ministry, Immigration Department and the Labour and Employment Services Department, would like to thank everyone in advance for their full cooperation and compliance.