ILO is a specialized agency of the United Nations
ILO-en-strap
Go to the home page
Site map | Contact us franšais | español
> GOVERNANCE - home > Employment protection legislation database - EPLex >

Antigua and Barbuda
 


Source and scope of regulations - 2018    

References
  • The Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code [LC], Act No. 14 of 1975 (Cap. 27)
    Date: 19 Sep 1975; view website » (view in NATLEX »)
  • Antigua and Barbuda Labour Code (Amendment) Act [LCA], 1998
    Act No. 16 of 1998
    Date: 19 Nov 1998; view website »
  • Industrial Court Act [ICA], No. 4 of 1976 (Cap. 214)
    Date: 19 Jun 1976; view website » (view in NATLEX »)
Scope
Size of enterprises excluded (≤): none
Workers' categories excluded: civil/public servants; police; army; diplomats; UN employees
Remarks:
  • See sec. A5 LC "Interpretation": the term employee does not include established employees of the Government.
    Sec. A6 Employers and employees affected:
    Employers and employees affected.
    A6. (2) To the extent that provisions of this Code apply to employees, they shall apply to all employees of employers operating or doing business in Antigua and Barbuda, including the non-established employees of the Government; but they shall not apply to-
    (a) established employees of the Government;
    (b) persons in the naval, military, or air forces of the Government;
    (c) the Police Force;
    (d) persons holding the status of diplomatic agents; or
    (e) persons employed by the United Nations or its specialised agencies.

Types of employment contracts - 2018    

+ show references

Maximum probationary (trial) period: 3 month(s)

Remarks:
  • Sec. C8 LC: The probation period may not exceed 3 months, unless there is provision for a greater period in a collective agreement.
    During his probation period, an employee's employment may be terminated without any reason.

Fixed term contract (FTC):
  • FTC regulated: No
    Remarks:
    • Sec C57 LC only provides that "an employee will not be deemed to have been dismissed unfairly if his employment is terminated at the expiration of the term specified at the time of his hire."
  • Valid reasons for FTC use: no limitation
    Remarks:
    • No provision on valid reasons for the use of FTC in the legislation reviewed.
  • Maximum number of successive FTCs: no limitation
    Remarks:
    • No provision limiting the use of FTC in the legislation reviewed.
  • Maximum cumulative duration of successive FTCs: no limitation
    Remarks:
    • No provision limiting the use of FTC in the legislation reviewed.

Substantive requirements for dismissals (justified and prohibited grounds) - 2018    

+ show references

Obligation to provide reasons to the employee: Yes
Remarks:
  • Upon termination by an employer subsequent to the expiration of the probation period, the employer is required to furnish a written statement indicating the precise reason for the termination, upon a request being made by the employee within seven days of termination or notice thereof (sec. C10 LC as amended by sec. 8 LCA).


Valid grounds (justified dismissal): any fair reasons
Remarks:
  • Sec. C56 LC: After the expiry of the probationary period, every employee has the right not to be unfairly dismissed and no employer shall dismiss any such employee without just cause.

    According to sec. C58 LC a dismissal is not unfair if the reason behind it:
    - relates to misconduct of the employee,
    - relates to the capability or qualifications of the employee to perform work
    - is that the employee was redundant;
    - is that the employee could not continue to work in the position he held without contravention (on his or on the employer's part) of a requirement of law; or
    - is some other substantial reason of a kind which would entitle a reasonable employer to dismiss an employee holding the position which the employee held (inserted by sec. 18 LCA)
    There needs to be a factual basis for the assigned reason.
    The test for deciding whether or not a dismissal was unfair is whether or not, under the circumstances the employer acted unreasonably or reasonably.


Prohibited grounds: race; colour; sex; religion; political opinion; age; trade union membership and activities
Remarks:
  • The LC does not expressly provide a list of prohibited grounds for dismissal.
    However, sec. C4(1) LC prohibits discrimination with respect to hire, tenure, wages, hours, or any other condition of work on the grounds of race, colour, creed, sex, age or political beliefs.
    On trade union membership or activities, see sec. K(3) and K(4) LC.


Workers enjoying special protection: no protected groups
Remarks:
  • No provision found in the legislation reviewed.


Procedural requirements for individual dismissals - 2018    

+ show references

Notification to the worker to be dismissed: no specific form required

Remarks:
  • The LC does not specify whether the employer's notice of termination shall be written or not (see. sec. C9 LC).
    The employer is however required to furnish a written statement indicating the precise reason for the termination, upon a request by the employee within seven days of termination or notice thereof (sec. C10 LC as amended by sec. 8 LCA).

Notice period:
Remarks:
  • See sec. C9(3) LC.
    - The period of said advance notice shall be at least equivalent to the interval of time between the affected employee's paydays. It shall not exceed 30 days unless a longer notice period is stipulated in an employment contract.
    - With respect to an employee serving a probation period, an employer must give at least 24 hours advance notice of his intention to terminate that person's employment.
    • tenure ≥ 6 months
      • monthly paid workers - 30 day(s).
    • tenure ≥ 9 months
      • monthly paid workers - 30 day(s).
    • tenure ≥ 2 years
      • monthly paid workers - 30 day(s).
    • tenure ≥ 4 years
      • monthly paid workers - 30 day(s).
    • tenure ≥ 5 years
      • monthly paid workers - 30 day(s).
    • tenure ≥ 10 years
      • monthly paid workers - 30 day(s).
    • tenure ≥ 20 years
      • monthly paid workers - 30 day(s).

    Pay in lieu of notice: Yes

    Remarks:
    • See sec. C9(4) LC.

    Notification to the public administration: No

    Notification to workers' representatives: No

    Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

    Approval by workers' representatives: No

    Procedural requirements for collective dismissals for economic reasons (redundancy, retrenchment) - 2018    

    + show references

    Definition of collective dismissal (number of employees concerned):
    No number specified in the LC.

    Remarks:
    • The LC only provides for a definition of redundancy without specifying the number of employees concerned.
      See sec. C3 LC, as amended by sec. 7 LCA:
      "'redundancy' means a situation in which by virtue of lack of customers orders, retrenchment, the installation of labour saving machinery, an employer's going out of business, a force majeure, or any other reason, work which a person was last employed to perform has ceased or substantially diminished".

      Note that there are no additional requirements (such as notification or consultation) applicable to redundancy.

    Prior consultations with trade unions (workers' representatives): No

    Notification to the public administration: No

    Notification to workers' representatives: No

    Approval by public administration or judicial bodies: No

    Approval by workers' representatives: No

    Priority rules for collective dismissals (social considerations, age, job tenure): No

    Employer's obligation to consider alternatives to dismissal (transfers, retraining...): No

    Priority rules for re-employment: No

    Notes / Remarks
    The LC does not foresee any specific legal regime applicable to collective dismissal.

    Severance pay and redundancy payment - 2018    

    + show references

    Severance pay:
    Remarks:
    • No severance pay upon dismissal for reasons other than redundancy (sec. C40 LC)
      Redundancy payment:
      Remarks:
      • See sec. C40 and 41 LC: provided that an employee has served at least one year with his or her present and predecessor employers, he or she will be entitled redundancy pay at a rate of at least one day's pay, at the employee's latest basic wage, for each month or major fraction thereof of his term of employment with his employer and any predecessor employer.
      • tenure ≥ 6 months: 0 day(s)
      • tenure ≥ 9 months: 0 day(s)
      • tenure ≥ 1 year: 12 day(s)
      • tenure ≥ 2 years: 24 day(s)
      • tenure ≥ 4 years: 48 day(s)
      • tenure ≥ 5 years: 60 day(s)
      • tenure ≥ 10 years: 120 day(s)
      • tenure ≥ 20 years: 240 day(s)

      Notes / Remarks
      Dismissal other than by reason of redundancy: no severance pay
      Dismissal by reason of redundancy: redundancy pay

      Avenues for redress (penalties, remedies) and litigation procedure for individual complaints - 2018    

      + show references

      Compensation for unfair dismissal - free determination by court: Yes

      Remarks:
      • See sec. B12 LC, as amended by sec. 6 of LCA: In an unfair dismissal or suspension without pay matter, a decisional officer may order the payment of a sum of money equal to loss of wages sustained and, in addition thereto he may also order the re-instatement or restoration of the person dismissed or suspended, or the payment of a sum of money in lieu of such reinstatement"

      Reinstatement available: Yes

      Remarks:
      • See sec. B12 LC as amended by sec. 6 LCA.

      Preliminary mandatory conciliation: Yes

      Remarks:
      • Complaints of unfair dismissals shall be first brought to the Labour Commissioner who shall seek to settle the matter by voluntary adjustment or settlement within 10 days. Conciliation or mediation may be used for those purposes (see sec. C60, C61 together with sec. B5 LC).
        Failing to achieve voluntary adjustment or settlement, he shall transmit the matter to the Minister in charge of Labour who shall also himself attempt to achieve voluntary adjustment or settlement of the matter by taking whatever steps he deems appropriate.(sec. C62 together with sec. B6 LC) If these attempts do not yield any results, the Minister shall take a number of steps available to him (sec. B6(2) LC) including referral of the matter to a Hearing officer (sec. C63 LC).

      Competent court(s) / tribunal(s): administrative body

      Remarks:
      • The Hearing Officer is competent to hear complaints of unfair dismissal (upon referral by the Minister) and impose appropriate remedies (damages or reinstatement in addition to the payment of loss wages) (see. sec. B12, and C63 LC).

        It should be noted that the Industrial Relations Court has jurisdiction over trade disputes (collective disputes) and does not generally have jurisdiction over individual disputes such as disputes concerning dismissal.
        However, according to sec. 10 ICA provides that in addition to its jurisdiction, in any dispute concerning the dismissal of an employee, if in the opinion of the Court, an employee has been dismissed in circumstances that are harsh and oppressive or not in accordance with the principles of good industrial relations practice, it may order the re-employment or re-instatement of the employee and/or the payment of compensation or damages, or the payment of exemplary damages in lieu of such re-employment or re-instatement.

      Existing arbitration: No

      Remarks:
      • Dismissals complaints do not fall within the jurisdiction of the Arbitration Tribunal which is only competent to hear and determine any major trade dispute (sec. B8 LC). [A major dispute is a dispute which has led to an interruption of work which is continuing; or if there is no present interruption of work, may lead to an interruption of work: sec. K13 LC)

      % of dismissals out of the total number of disputes: 46 %

      Remarks:
      • Statistics for 2007 (% of termination, suspension, redundancy, lay-off disputes), from the Labour Department of Antigua and Barbuda.

      Source of additional information - 2018    

      + show references

      Links

      ILO Committee of Experts on the Application of Conventions and Recommendations (CEACR) - Comments on the Termination of Employment Convention, 1982, No. 158 »
      Comments by the CEACR on the application of the Termination of Employment Convention, 1982 (No. 158) in Antigua and Barbuda.