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Employee Termination in The Bahamas

Posted by M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola | Oct 31, 2017 | 6 Comments

Employers and employees alike should learn about employee termination so that if and when it happens, they follow Bahamian employment law. Generally, under Bahamian law the employer is required to give a specific amount of notice to an employee, pay him a specific amount, and obey other procedures. SeeEmployment Act.

The amount of notice an employer must give an employee about his upcoming termination and the amount of salary or vacation to be paid out varies depending on 1) the reason the employer is terminating the employee and 2) how long the employee has worked for the employer.

If an employee is terminated with a justified reason – meaning the employee committed a fundamental breach of his contract or acted in a manner repugnant to the fundamental interests of the employer – the employer may dismiss the employee without notice and without severance pay. These justified reasons include: theft, fraud, dishonesty, gross insubordination, gross indecency, breach of confidentiality, gross negligence, incompetence, and gross misconduct.

If the employee is terminated for a personal reason not falling within the justified reasons above, then notice and severance pay are due to the employee as follows:

  • If the employee worked for less than ninety days, no notice is required and the employer does not have to pay any further compensation except that which has been earned.
  • If an employee a non-managerial position has worked from 91 days to 179 days, no notice is required but the employer must pay the employee accrued vacation.
  • If the non-managerial employee worked for 180 days to one year, the employer must give either one week's notice or pay one week's salary in lieu of notice, and also pay severance of one week's salary and accrued vacation.
  • If the non-managerial employee worked for more than one year, the employer must give either two weeks' notice or pay two weeks' salary in lieu of notice, and must also pay severance of two weeks' salary for every year worked up to 24 weeks' worth and accrued vacation.
  • For employees in managerial or supervisory positions, the employer must give one month's notice or one month of pay in lieu of notice, and must also pay severance of one month's salary for every year worked up to 48 weeks' worth and accrued vacation.

Note that if the employee is dismissed because of redundancy (rather than for some other reason such as poor performance), different procedures apply. See Employment Act, Section 26 as amended. An employer should give notice of termination orally to the employee, in writing, or sent to the employee's last-known residence. Employees in The Bahamas have the right not to be unfairly dismissed by employers.

To find out more about employee termination, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.

About the Author

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola is a civil and commercial litigation attorney and an accredited civil and commercial mediator. Margaret has over 21 years' experience in legal practice in the United Kingdom, Jamaica and The Bahamas.

Comments

gershom Pinder Reply

Posted Aug 06, 2019 at 17:31:48

your law firm comes highly recommended, keep up the good works. with the greatest respect.

T.Ferguson Reply

Posted Jun 06, 2020 at 13:55:35

Hello,
I’ve become increasingly interested in legal entitlements for Bahamians who’ve worked in excess of 30 years in a non-unionized job in the Bahamas. Upon my investigation, I found your website; however, the details provided is unclear.
For example,
“For employees in managerial or supervisory positions, the employer must give one month’s notice or one month of pay in lieu of notice, and must also pay severance of one month’s salary for every year worked up to 48 weeks’ worth and accrued vacation.”

Based on this disclosure, there is no indication whether each months salary deemed to be inclusive of 4 or 5 weeks of the 48 weeks managers and supervisor are entitled to. Additionally, why is severance pay capped by weeks instead of years of service?

M. Margaret Gonsalves-Sabola Reply

Posted Jun 09, 2020 at 21:22:29

It is intended that managers and supervisors who have been employed for 12 years or more would be entitled to a maximun of one year’s salary under the Employment Act, calculated as one month’s pay in lieu of notice plus 48 weeks of severance. A month is calculated as 4 weeks and with the one month’s notice pay, the employee would receive a full year’s salary if they were employed for 12 years or more.

Denice Black Reply

Posted Sep 24, 2020 at 12:57:39

Thank you so much for your breakdown regarding employee and managerial staff pay redundancy and otherwise. I found it to be clearly explainatory.

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