Labour Overview – Barbados

There is no national minimum wage. Rather, a minimum wage exists only in respect of shop assistants (Shop Act) and domestic workers (Domestic Employees (Hours of Duty) Act).

Severance pay is payable in certain circumstances under the Severance Payments Act, such as for redundancy or due to lay off. 

Maternity leaves are addressed in the Employment of Women (Maternity Leave) Act. An employee is not entitled to maternity leave unless she has worked for the employer for at least one year. Maternity leave is generally 12 weeks’ duration, although it may be extended in certain circumstances. An employee may not be dismissed while on maternity leave. There is no law for paternity leave.

Under the Holidays with Pay Act, an employee who is working consecutively for over one year but less than five years is entitled to 3 weeks’ paid vacation. If employed for over 5 years, the employee is entitled to 4 weeks’ paid vacation. Additionally, employees are entitled to 12 public holidays under the Public Holidays Act.

Pension Overview

Pension plans are regulated under the Occupational Pension Benefits Act. The Financial Services Commission, Pensions Division, regulates all pension plans and registered retirement savings plans that are established by employers for employees in Barbados. The FSC also supervises plans that are established outside of Barbados but have a substantial connection with Barbados. Some highlights of the Act include:

  • the protection of pension benefits through a solid economic fiscal framework;
  • the establishment of an efficient administrative framework;
  • the provision of equitable, modern and clear pension standards which reflects the needs of a changing society and economy;
  • fostering and expanding the voluntary employment pension plan system.

Social Security Benefits

The National Insurance and Social Security Scheme established under the National Insurance and Social Security Act provides for payment of the following benefits:

  • Sickness;
  • Maternity (benefit or grant);
  • Invalidity (benefit or grant);
  • Unemployment;
  • Funeral Grant;
  • Employment Injury (Injury benefit, disablement benefit, medical expenses, funeral grant, death benefit);
  • Non-Contributory Old age Pension;
  • Old age contributory (Grant or Pension);
  • Survivors’ (Grant or Pension);

Employers who fail to make contributions as required under the Act are guilty of an offence punishable by fine or imprisonment or both.

Apart from Employment Injury benefits, employees under age 16 or over age 65 are not insured under the Scheme. No employer contributions are required in respect of these employees, other than employment injury premiums.

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