Facts on Labour

The Labour Department issues a booklet entitled LABOUR AND YOU which serves as a guide to employers and employees alike. It provides briefs on trade union, personnel management, policies, security of workers, management responsibilities including the collective bargain process and grievance and disciplinary procedures.

A minimum Wage Law is now in force - $3.30 BZ ($1.65 US) per hour, although the average graduate, with at least an Associatesí Degree, would expect to be paid a minimum of between $4.44 and $6.25 an hour.

First two weeks of employment is the probation period.

With regard to the betterment of industrial relations and generally all labour matters, all enquiries must be directed to the Labour Commissioner who will instruct or authorize a Labour Officer to receive and investigate all representations whether of employees or of workers made to him concerning any business, trade, occupation or employment with a view to the settlement of an conciliation of disputes and grievances especially regarding hours and conditions of work and regulations of wages.

4. Termination Notice of payment in lieu are as follows:

Length of Employment/Termination Notices

2 weeks - 6 months
3 days notice or payment in lieu

6 months - l year

l week notice or payment in lieu

l year - 2 years

2 weeks notice or payment in lieu

5. Sick Leave

Workers are entitled to l 6 days sick leave at their basic rate of pay providing they worked an aggregate period of not less than 60 days within l 2 months.

6. Vacation Leave

Workers are entitled to 2 working weeks vacation annually.

7. Statutory Deductions

PAYE and Social Security

B. WORK PERMITS

Application forms for work permits are available at any Labour Department office free of cost and/or at the Angelus Press Limited for a small fee.

There are two types of forms - one for self employment, the other for hiring a foreign worker.

The application process takes approximately three (3) weeks. Although the Ministry of Labour processes and approves the issuing of work permits, the permit is issued by the Immigration Department - the fee can range anywhere from $100.00 to $600.00 depending on the level of skill. Two recent passport size pictures endorsed by the applicant must accompany the application.

In the case of an investor he must present his passport, have three passport size pictures, substantive proof of his ability to sustain himself without infringing on the country's limited economic resources. Bank statements or other proof of financial independence are also required.

The 'life' of a work permit ranges from three months to one year and is subject to renewal.


Many visitors to San Pedro, and residents, decide they want to get a job and stay on La Isla Bonita. To get a job a non-Belizean must have a work permit. This section was written with the purpose of assisting those who may want to apply for a temporary work permit. (All work permits are temporary).

Non-Belizeans must be in possession of a temporary work permit before accepting employment. The visitor's visa, issued by the Immigration Department to arriving visitors, clearly states "Permitted to land on condition that the holder does not enter employment paid or unpaid, does not engage in any business or profession without the consent of the principal immigration officer and does not remain in Belize longer than ___ days (usually thirty days)."

The first step in obtaining a permit is to purchase the appropriate form from the Angelus Press (located on Queen Street in Belize City). The Labour Department does not supply the form, nor is it available in their offices. After obtaining and completing the form the applicant will need:

a. Three passport size photographs with your signature on the reverse side.
b. A letter from the Mayor of San Pedro regarding the nature of the employment request.
c. A letter from the Belize Tourist Board regarding the nature of the employment request.
d. If requesting self-employment, you must attend an interview at the Labour Department. Interviews are conducted on any Wednesday the office is open.
e. If an employer is seeking a permit for you, the employer or an authorized representative (who must have a letter) must attend an interview along f. A bank statement or other document demonstrating proof of your ability to sustain yourself without becoming a strain on the country's public services and resources. (If self-employment).
g. Proof of continuous residence in Belize for at least six months.

Do not mail the application and supporting documents. Applications are only received when presented personally by the applicant. In addition to the above required items, at the discretion of the Labour Department, further information and documentation of information provided may be requested.

Persons applying for temporary work permits should also be advised that the issuance of a work permit is at the discretion of the Labour Commissioner and is not guaranteed. Three consecutive weeks of advertising (in a newspaper or on TV or radio) that the position is open may be required. If a qualified Belizean wishes to fill the position, a work permit might not be given to a non-Belizean. The Labour Commissioner also will not accept ads from "regional" newspapers such as The San Pedro Sun, although TV ads in Belize City are acceptable.

After all necessary documents are received, applicants can expect to hear from the Labour Department after approximately four weeks.


FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION
CONTACT
THE LABOUR DEPARTMENT
PHONE: (501) 8-22323, (02) 44907.




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