Department of Labour Seeks to Better Serve Public

Basseterre, St. Kitts, October 03, 2016 (SKNIS): Members of staff at the Department of Labour will be in a better position to assist the public following a series of training sessions to upgrade their skills and knowledge in the field.

Enhancing the capacity of the labour officers and the clerical staff is a goal of the Acting Commissioner of Labour, Shernel James. Since assuming the leadership post in March 2016, Ms. James conducted a SWOT analysis of the department, focusing on strengths, weaknesses, threats and opportunities. Based on the assessment, she has organized internal training to cover the topic of labour administration.

“It involves ensuring that there is compliance with the law and conciliation mediation. It involves social protection, which includes severance payment, long service gratuity, and ensuring that the workplace is safe and healthy for all,” Ms. James said.

Training began two weeks ago and is held every Wednesday at 2 p.m. Ms. James said two new labour officers and office personnel have responded well to the information. “They are getting a better understanding of what is the role and the functions of the Department of Labour and how we can effectively serve the public and how we can ensure that there is awareness in regards to the world of work and increasing our employment service capacity,” she added.

Ensuring that the office staff was included in the training was key for Ms. James.

“So, if someone calls the Department of Labour and ask about an issue, say holiday pay, a clerk can effectively say to them this is how it is computed based on the criteria set out in the law,” she said, noting that “it will alleviate the workload of the labour officers.”

After this round of training is complete, the staff can look forward to other sessions. Support is being sought from the partner agencies in the Organization of Eastern Caribbean States (OECS) and the International Labour Organization (ILO) to assist these initiatives.

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