#Providenciales, May 28, 2019 – Turks and Caicos – OThe Ministry of Immigration, Citizenship, Labour and Employment Services refer to a cartoon rendition “Under the Tree” by Benneth Williams on 7 page of the May 18 – 24, 2019 edition of the Turks and Caicos Weekly Newspaper.
The cartoon depicts several assumptions and more notably the references to the questions surrounding the payment of “nightly, holidays and weekends pay”.
It is necessary for the Ministry responsible to clarify and correct the article for the benefit of the general public.
In March 2017, an Audit was undertaken of the overtime paid by the Immigration Department. Recommendations from the report included:
- Adherence to the overtime rates stipulated in the Public Service Handbook
- A Shift system should be implemented at the Providenciales Airport, Blue Heron and other units where it may be feasible.
On April 12, 2018, a shift system was implemented to ensure officers are not overworked, assist in reducing the need for overtime and provide adequate Immigration overage at the Ports.
This was done in accordance with Section 3.1 of the Public Service Handbook 2016 which outlines the following terms and conditions of the Shift or Roster Systems
Some officers are required to work on a shift or roster system. This will be noted on the job description. The Delegated Manager will determine the shift pattern or roster. The shift pattern or roster will be given to officers in writing at least 7 working days before its operation.
The following rules apply to any such systems: 1. The total hours of work will be on average no more than 40 hours per week and no less than 34.5 hours per week over the period of a month (pro rata for part-time officers). 2. In any one week, the working hours will not exceed 48 hours. 3. In any one day, the working hours will not exceed 12 hours. 4. In any one day, at least 11 consecutive hours are not scheduled for work. 5. Lunch time is not counted as working hours. 6. Lunch time will be a minimum of 30 minutes. 7. A lunch break must be taken if the work day is more than 6 hours. 8. At least one day each week will be free of working hours.
Overtime and Holiday will be paid as per Handbook after 40 hours per week are exhausted.
Prior to the introduction of the new system, all staff were paid a flat overtime rate of US$8.00 per hour and US$10 .00 per hour for weekends and holidays.
Please see below table of comparatives of Old Rates and Current Rates of Overtime. Note that current rates in some cases have increased more than 270%:
|Rates Prior to April 2018 and Current Rates|
|Old Rate||Current Rates|
|Category||Previous Rates||Assistant Immigration Officer||Immigration Officer||Senior Immigration Officer||Overtime/Holiday Percent Increase Range|
|Overtime||$8.00||$18.63||$22.22||$27.86||132.87 % to 248.25 %|
|Holiday||$10.00||$24.39||$29.63||$37.15||143.9 % to 271.5 %|
In addition, staff were paid retroactively (back pay) in accordance with the Public Service Handbook 2016 one year difference between the old rate and current rates. The average pay out for twenty one (21) staff was US$10,895.45.
The actions taken by the Government was to ensure full compliance with the laws and rules that govern the Public Sector and the entitlement therein.
The performance outturns articulated during the recent Budget Address by the Deputy Premier now former Minister responsible is a clear indication that the Department is taking the required initiatives to meet its broad objective which is, to better protect the borders of the Turks and Caicos Islands. The Ministry and Department appreciate the hard work that takes place on a daily basis by staff to achieve these outcomes.