Table of Contents

Jamaica

Table of Contents

Currency

Jamaican Dollar (JMD)

Payroll Frequency

Monthly

Employer Taxes

12.5%

About Jamaica

Jamaica is a Caribbean country with beaches, mountains, and rainforests, making it a beautiful and popular tourist destination. As a former colony of Britain, Jamaica’s political environment is relatively stable, with the only parties since independence being the Social Democratic People’s National Party and the Conservative Jamaica Labor Party. Jamaica has a strong national identity and culture expressed through its music and food. It is home to reggae music culture and famous musicians such as Bob Marley as well as the revolutionary, Marcus Garvey, who fought for the rights and freedom of black people. It is also the birthplace of Rastafarianism, a popular and countercultural religious identity reflected through art and. English is the dominant language in Jamaica but with a distinctive linguistic style that is different from other English speakers.

Employment Relationship

• Permanent Employment

Jamaica's labor law does not explicitly define permanent employment. The Employment (Termination and Redundancy Payments) Act states that if an employee on a fixed-term contract continues working for 4 weeks after the expiration of the fixed-term contract, the employment contract is treated as an indefinite term contract with regard to the notice periods required to terminate it.

• Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts

Jamaica's labor law considers fixed-term contracts to be terminated and the employee to be dismissed at the expiration of the contract's term. However, if an employee on a fixed-term contract continues working for 4 weeks after the expiration of the fixed-term contract, the employment contract is treated as an indefinite term contract with regard to the notice period required to terminate it. Jamaica does not generally restrict the use of fixed-term contracts. Employees with a fixed-term contract of 2 years or more are entitled to a statutory redundancy payment upon their contract's expiration. Still, they may mutually agree in writing with the employer to exclude this payment in their employment contract. Where an agreement to exclude the redundancy payment is made during the current fixed-term contract, and that term is renewed, the redundancy payment exclusion agreement does not apply to the renewed contract. In essence, the employer must make another redundancy payment exclusion agreement for the renewed term. A redundancy payment exclusion agreement can be contained in the contract itself or made in a separate agreement.

• Temporary Employment Contratcs

In Jamaica, the Employment Agencies Regulation Act regulates temporary employment contracts. The Act requires temporary employment agencies to apply for and be granted a license to operate. Temporary employment agencies may generally operate in any business sector.

Probationary Period

Jamaica's labor law does not set a statutory limit on the duration of probationary periods. When an employment contract contains a probationary period, the contract can be terminated without notice if the probationary period is less than 90 days. If the probationary period is longer than 90 days, the employee can be dismissed without a notice period within the first 90 days of employment. 2 weeks' notice is required for employees who have surpassed the first 90 days of their probationary periods. The length of probationary periods found in collective agreements in Jamaica typically ranges from 3 to 6 months. 

Working Hours

Jamaica's labor law allows employers and employees to define normal working hours up to a maximum of 12 hours per 24 hour period and up to 40 hours per week. Any work performed over 40 hours per week is generally eligible for overtime pay.

Holidays / PTO

• Statutory Holidays

The following public holidays are observed in Jamaica: New Year’s Day (January 1) or the day after New Year’s Day (January 2) if it falls on a Sunday, Ash Wednesday (varies), Easter Monday (date may vary), Labor Day (May 23), Emancipation Day (August 1), Independence Day (August 6), National Heroes Day (the third Monday of October), Christmas Day (December 25), the day after Christmas Day (December 26), or the third day after Christmas Day (December 27) if it falls on a Sunday, a day appointed by the Minister of national observance (date may vary).

• Paid Annual Leave

Jamaica's law defines the annual leave policy in the Holidays with Pay Act. Employees who work at least 110 days (any fraction of a day shall be considered as one day) in the year and are not seasonal or casual workers are eligible for paid annual leave. The amount of leave is determined by the number of days the employee worked during the qualifying year (the year prior). An employee is credited with 5 working days of leave after 110 days of work. An employer must grant at least 2 weeks of paid leave for each year worked by an employee with fewer than 10 years of service. An employer must grant at least 3 weeks of paid leave for each year worked by an employee with more than 10 years of service. Jamaica's law allows for the accrual and accumulation of annual leave for not more than 3 consecutive years. The accrual or accumulation agreement should be included in the contract of employment. The Holidays with Pay Act requires employers to pay out accrued annual leave to employees upon employment termination. Furthermore, if an employee is transferred between businesses, the accrued annual leave transfers with the employee and becomes the new employer's responsibility. Employees must be paid their normal wage while on holiday, and this amount must be paid to them before the commencement of the leave.

• Sick Leave

Jamaica's labor law entitles employees (except casual workers) who have worked at least 110 days in their first 12 months of employment to take 1 day of paid sick leave for every 22 days worked. After the first year of employment, employees are entitled to 2 weeks of paid sick leave. The employer does not need to pay the employee during sick leave if the employee is entitled to a benefit under the National Insurance Act or the Workmen's Compensation Act, or if the employee doesn't notify their employer that they are sick. After working at least 110 days in their first 12 months of employment, casual workers are also entitled to 10 days' sick pay or an amount totaling 110 days of working time.

• Maternity Leave

In Jamaica, a pregnant woman who has been continually employed by an employer for at least 52 weeks is entitled to maternity leave. Seasonal workers whose work for an employer within 5 years adds up to 52 weeks are also entitled to maternity leave. The employee must notify the employer about the time she wishes to take off and provide a certificate from a registered medical practitioner if requested. Those who meet the requirements for maternity leave receive 12 weeks. In some cases, the maternity leave can be extended by 60 days, but only for the following: Illness arising from the pregnancy Poor health of the child.

• Paternity Leave

Jamaica's labor law currently contains no provisions for paternity leave for private sector employees. However, there is paternity leave for public sector employees. Male public sector employees are entitled to 20 days of paternity leave following the birth or adoption of a child. This leave can only be granted within 6 months of childbirth. Leave may be accessed in the event of stillbirth or the infant’s death within 6 months after delivery. Paid leave can only be accessed on 3 occasions within each government organization. 

Termination of Employment

• Notice Period

In Jamaica, a notice of dismissal must be provided to employees who have been continuously employed for at least 4 weeks. The period required for notice is as follows: At least 2 weeks for employees with less than 5 years of tenure At least 4 weeks for employees with between 5 and 10 years of tenure At least 6 weeks for employees with between 10 and 15 years of tenure At least 8 weeks for employees with between 15 and 20 years of tenure At least 12 weeks for employees with over 20 years of tenure. Employees who have been continuously employed for 4 weeks or longer cannot give less than 2 weeks' notice to terminate their employment contract. The notice of dismissal is given in writing unless given in the presence of a credible witness. However, the notice period may be waived if the conduct of either party breaches the contract or causes harm to the employee/employer, or if a fixed-term contract has expired.

• Severance Benefits

In Jamaica, severance pay is legally required in redundancy cases where employees have 104 weeks (2 years) of tenure. Dismissal is considered to be due to redundancy if it is attributable wholly or partly to: An employer having ceased to carry on the business for which the employee was employed An employee’s particular work has ceased or diminished An employee has suffered a personal injury caused by an accident arising during their employment or developed an occupational disease. Seasonal employees who have worked for an employer for 2 or more consecutive seasons are considered to be dismissed because of redundancy if dismissed for any of the reasons listed above or if they are not employed in future seasons. The redundancy payment amounts to: 2 weeks’ pay per year for the first 10 years 3 weeks´ pay per year, from the tenth year onwards.