The Caswell Franklyn Column – Government Making Illegal Deductions From Salaries

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

Caswell Franklyn, Head of Unity Workers Union

The finances of this country appear to be so bad that Government seems to be scrounging around to collect money, that in some cases, is not owed. Over the last several months, I have been inundated by calls from public officers about Government unilaterally deducting money from their salaries. In a majority of these cases, it is my view that these officers owe nothing.

On a regular basis, officers have been confronted with letters informing them that their extensions of sick leave on full pay were granted in error, and that they were only entitled to half pay and in a few cases no pay. The letters would then go on to say that the overdrawn salary would be deducted in set amounts over a period.

Even if the officers owed the money, and I contend that they do not, there would have been no prior consultation to determine how much they could comfortably pay back. At times officers find it impossible to make ends meet with what’s left. In one case, an officer was left with a net salary of $182 for the month.

In the private sector there is specific legislation that regulates how much money an employer can deduct from the wages of workers. Section 9 of the Protection of Wages Act, Chapter 351 of the Laws of Barbados states:

9.(1) An employer may deduct or stop from the wages payable to a worker under any contract of employment in respect of the following –

(a) the actual or estimated cost to the employer of any materials, tools and implements supplied by the employer to the worker at the latter’s request to be employed by him in his occupation; or

(b) any money advanced by way of loan by the employer to the worker, whether paid to the worker himself or to another person at the worker’s request in anticipation of the regular period of payment of his wages.

(2) A worker may assign a part of the wages payable to him under any contract of employment.

(3) The total amount which may be –

(a) deducted or stopped from the wages of a worker under subsection (1);

(b) assigned by a worker out of his wages under any contract of employment pursuant to subsection (2); and

(c) attached under any law,

shall not, in any pay period, exceed one-third of the wages of the worker in that pay period.

Some may be quick to say that the act does not bind the Crown, (that is a fancy way of saying that the legislation does not apply to Government). But for as long as I can remember, it has been Government policy that public workers would be treated no less favourably than their counterparts in the private sector.

Even so, Government became a signatory on May 8, 1967 to the Protection of Wages Convention of the International Labour Organization. And clearly that convention applies to Government workers. Article 2 paragraph 1 of the convention states:

This convention applies to all persons to whom wages are paid or payable.

Article 10 paragraphs (1) and (2) are also relevant in this case. They state:

(1) Wages may be attached or assigned only in a manner and within limits prescribed by national laws or regulations.

(2) Wages shall be protected against attachment or assignment to the extent deemed necessary for the maintenance of the worker and his family.

When Government deducts this so called overdrawn salary leaving a worker with a mere $182 to maintain that worker for a month; it is a clear violation of the solemn international commitment it has made.

Further, as discussed in a previous column, there is nothing in the law that allows Government to grant an extension of sick leave on anything other than full pay.

I would like to extend condolences to the family of the late Volta Lowe. I attended her funeral service and was heartened by the numbers from all walks of life who took time out to pay their final respects. Hers was a life dedicated to serving others. She was a tireless community worker who gave faithful service in everything that she did. Rest in peace my friend.

19 thoughts on “The Caswell Franklyn Column – Government Making Illegal Deductions From Salaries

  1. Trust the government to shave off money and steal from the wrong people….again.

    The ministers need to go to the minorities they been stealing from the people to give millions to for decades….go take back those millions.

    Better yet…

    Do not give the minorities anymore taxpayer funded contracts. ..for bribes.

  2. If Mr. Franklyn can look carefully he would recognize that almost all of those officers who had that type of wages deducted from their salaries are associated to the party not in power. That move is designed not strictly to scrounge money, but to administer the maximum hurt of those workers and their families.

    The devils in Parliament will be well within their rights to go after the likes of Maloney and his cronies to recover some of the millions paid to them for shoddy and over priced work done at places like Valery and the Grotto and some chicken coops at the Villages that the Government is responsible for and pouring valuable money down the proverbial drain instead of victimizing honest Bajans.

    The only extension of sick leave the Government can approve is on full pay.

  3. abajanhowe

    The devils in Parliament will be well within their rights to go after the likes of Maloney and his cronies to recover some of the millions paid to them for shoddy and over priced work done at places like Valery and the Grotto and some chicken coops at the Villages that the Government is responsible for and pouring valuable money down the proverbial drain instead of victimizing honest Bajans.

    wuhloss look who is talking , i know yuh memory cant be so short not to remember the millions burnt under the blp that this govt still has to forked up money and pay for ,



  6. @ Mr. Caswell Franklyn

    You stated and I quote “…Even so, Government became a signatory on May 8, 1967 to the Protection of Wages Convention of the International Labour Organization…”

    The the government became signatory to the Act in 1967, could you advise whether they, the government, ratified the Treaty & when?

    As you know without ratification, the treaty means nothing.

  7. ILO constitutional practice requires that Government, as the competent authority, pass condign legislation to implement the provisions of the Convention after ratification or otherwise account to the Committee for its difficulties in doing so. What is the excuse after 49 years?

  8. “The devils in Parliament will be well within their rights to go after the likes of Maloney and his cronies to recover some of the millions paid to them for shoddy and over priced work done at places like Valery and the Grotto and some chicken coops at the Villages that the Government is responsible for and pouring valuable money down the proverbial drain instead of victimizing honest Bajans.”

    That’s why it’s the duty of everyone in Barbados to keep exposing the nastiness of the slaves in parliament. …expose their every dirty move.,,.what they are doing to their own people is beyond evil….while they protect the minorities that they got the nerve steal from their own people……… enrich.

  9. @Caswell

    Why are you surprised !

    Barbados econmoy/finances have been failing for the last several years, political corruption, inept politicians, ignorant populace etc. etc.

    Government is OUT OF MONEY even though Central Bank keeps printing more. Government is now at the stage that civil servants pay is on the agenda for CLAWBACKS, NON PAYMENT etc. etc.

    Bajans will soon wake up to a devalued $, no pensions, no medical and numerous social/economic consequences which are going to be impossible to recover from.

    As the saying says — TIME TO PAY THE PIPER.

  10. Workers in Barbados and most other places have long surrendered all rights, gains made.

    Why it is to be news that illegal acts are now being perpetrated by government as employer.

    Why can the government not be arrested? Why can corporations not be arrested? How come these entities have more rights than average persons under these fictitious cloaks?

    Indeed, we have never seen a single case in the Caribbean where an official of a corporation has, for example, been charged with murder for the acts of the corporation.

    It should concern us all that workers now have less rights, less power, than 40 years ago.

    They have been sold out by leadership, the advance of neo-liberalism, the yearnings of those in charge to be like the employers, with all the trappings that it offers.

    We believe worse is coming down the pike. If the establishment could give us negative interest rate on workers pensions, turn defined benefits plans into money purchase plans, reductions in real wages and salaries, how far away could be a neo-feudalism, a neo-slavery be?

  11. Land fraud is at the roots with the DBLP Crook Ministers, If land titles were clear, the government could enforce payment of all types of taxes, The NHC and UDC land grab means people cant get title deeds , For the government can not make no one pay taxes on land with out a clear title deed,, Fraud is not to be supported by crook lawyers,Ministers and Judges, ”
    So people paying land taxes under fear, To go to court will show up” the all powerful DBLP , fraud, Why you think they hold court in a closet? So others cant see what they are doing,
    No real reports in Barbados , just copy cats.
    They seem to taking the money to pay the BONDS the DBLP sold to the rich people who bought , COW and BIZZY got them DIZZY, taking VAT and TAXES on both end.

  12. De ole man was studying bout dis DLP problem and legal ways to get rid uh dem.

    The private sector with its Baloneys, Cows and Hoggie wives and Bark & Jerk a Man (germans, somebody say Norwegian but de ole man ent talking bout dem udder people) in the current circumstances stand to loose millions of dollars right??

    The page show de faces uh 16 criminals that are there.

    Look at the first set only – do not linger on the other Ministers by Appointment or the Senators

    De ole man was wondering if de private sector could assemble a “gratuity” (de ole man ent say bribe) similar to the ones that Bizzie cum pun TV and say dat dem does always give the politicians, and buy out these vandagers now that they got their pension!!

    $5M into four accounts!!

    The account of de poor rakey ones – Blackett, James Paul, Lowe Down or WeJonesing!!

    None of dese fellows, i forget to add including Lil Caesar, dem ent got no ministry wid real “tuh rip off”.

    Other than Down Low, and Blackmout need to refill he coffers, given de estate row over de $5M

    De four uh dem cud claim health issues and jes retire, resign, demit offit or whatever dem wud like to do, jes simply “dun wid dat” AND DE PRIVATE SECTOR FELLOW CUD WIRE DEM MONEY TUH DEM ACCUNT.

    Wunna doan got to give Lil Caesar so much, jes toss in a few Wuk Up Fetes and any woman that is taller than his 5ft 2 inches, and he going abdicate he Ministry in a heartbeat (no disrespect intended to any other people of his height)

    Whu after all dere got to be an equivalent to an Irrevocable Letter of Credit to get a DLP Minister to leh go he seat!!

    Four seats and it would be 12 to 12 and we suffering is over

    Is dat is a “Hill Too Tall” for the private sector fellers or is dem content to loose dem shirt pun dem back?

  13. “The finances of this country appear to be so bad that Government seems to be scrounging around to collect money, that in some cases, is not owed.”

    @ Caswell

    Although your article deals specifically with government making various deductions from the salaries and wages of public sector employees, it reminded me of a situation pertaining to VAT.

    During the 2015-2016 Budgetary Proposal, Sinckler revealed that, effective January 1, 2016, the VAT registration threshold will be increased from $80,000 to $200,000.

    In January 2016, I visited to VAT Division on behalf of clients whose income fell under $200,000, to get information relative to how they were to go about “de-registering” from filing VAT returns. An officer told me that they were not given any information pertaining to the new policy, but gave me “VAT de-registration form” and told me to complete and return it to the office.

    However, she was quick to inform me that the businesses would have to continue charging their customers VAT and file VAT returns until the application was approved.

    I subsequently visited the VAT Division to submit the applications, but was told by another officer that I completed the incorrect application forms. After which he said the policy had not gone through the parliamentary process as yet, meaning the new policy is not an enacted law.

    He also reminded me that the businesses would have to continue charging their customers VAT and file VAT returns until new policy becomes law.

    Since then, I have been unable to source any further information on this issue.

    This means that, as January 1, 2017 approaches, we have businesses in Barbados that fall under the new threshold of $200,000, but are still remitting VAT payments to the VAT Division.

  14. @ Caswell

    I was shocked when I heard there were instances in Barbados, when, under the circumstances of a “national shut down” by the Department of Emergency Services as a result of a tropical storm warning, certain business owners chose to defy the authorities and ignore the safety of their employees, by opening for business today.

    Confirmed reports identified Carlton & A1 Supermarkets at Black Rock and Emerald City as having opened for business, while unconfirmed reports suggested “the several branches of a local fast-food chain” that also opened was Chefette.

    AG Adriel Brathwaite responded to these reports by saying it was irresponsible and “called on businesses to consider the safety of their employees, while STRESSING that once a NATIONAL SHUT DOWN was CALLED it was MANDATORY for COMPANIES to COMPLY.”

    However, while Brathwaite was condemning this practice, his colleague and fellow cabinet member, Denis Kellman DEFIED the authorities to ENGAGE in the said practice.

    It is a known fact that Kellman likes to “spin” any situation in his favour, and this was not an exception. He “contended that Brathwaite’s criticism did not pertain to him because he was simply accommodating “some people like any normal country shop would.”

    “Kellman, who owns St Elmo’s Moon Town in St Lucy, told Barbados TODAY he was not being irresponsible.
    “I think what you should do is listen to the Labour officer. He fully explained certain circumstances. I think what the [Minister of Home Affairs] is TALKING about is those PEOPLE who CALLED out people to work,” Kellman explained.”

    “However, Barbados TODAY was told that SOME of Kellman’s EMPLOYEES were PRIVATELY PROTESTING that they could not be with their families because they HAD to work.” [Barbados Today, September 28, 2016]

    Is it legal for employers to FORCE or otherwise INTIMIDATE their employees into “volunteering” their services during situations where, as a matter of caution, the island was “shut down” due to an impending disaster?

    Does this action contravene one of the eight core fundamental Principles of Rights at Work that offer provisions and protections, i.e. Elimination of Forced and Compulsory Labour?

    Perhaps Caswell and Jeff Cumberbatch could comment on this issue from the perspective of trade unionist and attorney-at-law respectively.

  15. As a “law maker,” Kellman would come under much more scrutiny than Bynoe, Haloute or any other employer that opened for business during the period the island was “shut down” and people were advised to stay indoors as a result of the storm warning and impending adverse weather.

    Perhaps Barbados’ labour laws are not specific, but open to various interpretations, according to which one benefits the employer’s specific situation.

    As it relates to interpretation of labour laws, recently, while engaging in an act of nepotism, whereby he sanctioned the appointment of his nephew’s wife as the Human Resources Manager of the NHC, Kellman was quick to respond that “the appointment was an attempt by the NHC to comply with the guidelines set out by the Employment Rights Tribunal in its recent decision against the National Conservation Commission,” even though the ERT did not specify any particular recruitment method for the NHC. [Source: Barbados Today, August 6. 2016]

    • Douglas Trotman

      14 hrs ·

      For your information and guidance.

      Essential Services in the Private Sector

      Within the context of the private sector those companies/entities which provide essential emergency services to the general public in times of emergencies include:Utility companiesSupermarkets, mini-marts, shopsPharmaciesGeneral stores, including hardware stores and lumberyards Companies that provide public transportation Telecommunication providers

      Private Sector Shutdown Procedures

      On the issue of the National Shutdown Instruction, private sector entities/companies shall close their operation taking into account the following:(i) the provision of their disaster plans(ii) the security and operational procedures of the entity/company(iii) the welfare of the employees and the need for them to take their domestic precautions, especially those living in remote and flood prone areas, and(iv) the operators of public transportation will need to withdraw and secure their vehicles well before the impact. Consequently, staff not essential to the entity/company’s disaster plans should be released early, unless private arrangements can be made for transporting staff home safely.

  16. I read and hopefully understood the information provided (by Douglas Trotman?).

    The paragraph relative to “Private Sector Shutdown Procedures”, as I interpreted it, gave specific guidelines that should be undertaken AT THE TIME or WHEN a National Shutdown Instruction is ISSUED.

    My interpretation is based on the statement: “ON THE ISSUE of the National Shutdown Instruction, private sector entities/companies SHALL CLOSE THEIR OPERATION taking into account the following…..”

    What I would like to know is if employees of those listed “companies/entities which provide essential emergency services to the general public in times of emergencies,” specifically: “Supermarkets, mini-marts, shops, Pharmacies, General stores, including hardware stores and lumberyards,” are OBLIGATED to report for duty AFTER the Shutdown Instruction has been issued?

    • Artax

      I do not know of any specific law that mandates closure of shops when there is a national shutdown because of bad weather. I note that Douglas Trotman wrote about guidelines but did not cite any specific legislation. In any event, he used the word, “should”. As far as I know “should” does not mandate anything.

      It would appear that there is an urgent need for laws in this area since the milk of human kindness or common sense does not reside in a number of employers. They care more for the almighty dollar than the welfare of their employees.

      Mind you I do not expect any laws soon to clarify this area. Both political parties in the House are too inextricably tied up with business to do anything about it. After over sixty years with two labour parties alternating in government, labour legislation is too weak to adequately protect workers. Where some exist, there are too many exceptions to allow employers a way out. Basically, Barbados has the best labour laws that EMPLOYERS could pay for.

      Finally, Kellman is supposed to be a full time minister of the Crown and it would also appear that his status is such that it allows him to be also a full time shopkeeper. I have had enough queries from people who purport to work for him to expect that he would be one of the employers who require employees to risk life and limb for him to make a dollar.

      Sent from my iPad

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