In The Bahamas, employees may not work an excessive number of hours or days in the week without taking required rest and meal periods. Generally, the “standard hours of work” are eight hours in one day or forty hours in one week. Employees who have irregular hours due to the nature of their employment may have their standard hours of work calculated as an average over a period of four weeks or less.
Non-managerial employees who work more than eight hours a day or forty hours a week must receive overtime pay. Certain types of employees, however, may work up to twelve hours per day as their standard hours of work. These employees include industrial, construction, manufacturing, and transshipment employees, as well as law enforcement and other essential workers.
During their standard hours of work, employees must receive a one hour meal period each day, or another length of meal break as agreed upon between employee and employer. In addition, all employees must receive rest time each week. Employers must allow employees to cease work for at least twelve consecutive hours each day before beginning work again the next day. In other words, employees cannot work more than twelve hours in a day, because the other twelve hours are rest time.
Further, employers must allow at least forty-eight hours of rest for each employee in a seven-day period. The forty-eight hours should be divided into two twenty-four hour days, which do not need to be consecutive. Employees must have a full twenty-four hours off during a day off work. Many employees have the weekend off, which satisfies the day of rest requirement. Others do not work on one weekend day and one weekday. When employees first begin work for an employer, the employer should establish one day off that is fixed, meaning the employee always gets the same day of the week off work. This “fixed” day off may not be changed without an agreement in writing.
Employers cannot require employees to work on public holidays absent an agreement to the contrary (such as a union agreement). If the holiday falls on a day that an employee would otherwise work, he must receive a full day's pay. Employees who do work on public holidays or on their fixed day off are entitled to at least twice their usual daily pay for that day.
To find out more about rest periods and employment law, visit Gonsalves-Sabola Chambers online or call the office at +1 242 326 6400.
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