The Department of Labour and Workforce Development announced Tuesday the launch of a long-awaited employer orientation programme designed to help reduce disputes between employees and employers and promote “sound labour practices in the workplace.”

The orientation also aims to reduce unauthorised employment in the Virgin Islands, increase compliance with health-and-safety rules, and build a better relationship between the department and employers in the territory.

“[Employers who participate] should be able to respond better to any issues that come up in the workplace, because at the orientation they will now be getting what I refer to as more accurate information,” Labour Commissioner Janice Rymer said in an interview with Government Information Services. “So they would know what processes to take when a

particular situation comes on board, whether it relates to disputes or undocumented employees or any aspect of the working environment.”

Employers will also have the chance to learn more about their rights, according to the commissioner.

“At the end of it, we hope they’ll be more knowledgeable, and therefore we will see a decrease as it relates to disputes,” she said.

Monthly sessions

Orientation sessions will be held at 2 p.m. on a Tuesday to be announced each month at the Ashley Ritter Building in Road Town, according to the department.

Ms. Rymer added that participating employers will gain better tools for referencing the Labour Code, 2010 as needed. A digital copy of the code is available at the department’s homepage on the government’s website, under the tab “Publications.” For more information about the code, call 468-4780 or email

Press conference

The department also held a press conference on Tuesday announcing the launch, but the Beacon was not permitted to attend because of newly imposed guidelines about the number of people allowed in one room, this reporter was told.

Though no cases have yet been reported in the territory, the measure is a mitigation strategy to help prevent the spread of COVID-19. For more coverage, see page one.