An Overview of the Employment Amendment (No. 2) Act 2020 – Part 1: Termination Procedures

UPDATE: On 13 January 2021, the Employment Amendment (No. 2) Act 2020 and the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 2020 were passed in the Senate. While there are further formalities that will need to take place, the two Acts are expected to commence on 1 June 2021.

On 28 November 2020, the Government of Bermuda introduced two Bills, one entitled Employment Amendment (No. 2) Act 2020 (the Bill) and one entitled the Trade Union and Labour Relations (Consolidation) Act 2020 (the Consolidation Bill). While they are still to make their way through the legislative journey, and may be amended during that process, the Acts are anticipated to come into force on 1 June 2021.

Both the Bill and the Consolidation Bill seek to amend the Employment Act 2000 (the Act). In a press release, the Ministry of Labour explained that the Bill “seeks to strengthen the rights and obligations of employers and employees in Bermuda’s labour force as well as modernise and clarify areas of the existing legislation to ensure it is in line with international best practices”. The proposed amendments both elaborate and amend existing provisions and introduce new provisions including the requirement of meal breaks and the provision of anti-bullying and sexual harassment policies.

In a two-part series, we will be providing an overview of the proposed amendments to the Act. In this alert, we focus on the proposed amendments to termination procedures (including requirements related to probationary periods). In the second alert we will provide an overview of the amendments and additions to employee entitlements, new obligations on employers and the miscellaneous other provisions. To read Part 2 click here.

It should be noted that the Act applies only to ‘employees’ within the meaning of the Act, being employees who work at least 15 hours a week, wholly or mainly in Bermuda, and who do not fall within one of the exceptions e.g. a casual worker or a student employed in their vacation period.

We note that the Consolidation Bill also seeks to consolidate the various pieces of labour legislation into a single code. This series, however, concentrates solely on the amendments to the Act.

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