Expanding your company to a new country can be an exciting endeavor. While this next step can widen your scope of success, you’ll also encounter new business processes and employment laws that may differ from those in your country of origin.
Globalization Partners is your resource for international expansion. As an Employer of Record (EOR), we can hire your employees through our subsidiary in your country of choice. We have connections in over 180 countries, and our team of legal and HR experts provides the guidance you need for every aspect of global employment — from onboarding to payroll.
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When you’re ready to start your global expansion in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines, count on Globalization Partners to support you every step of the way. Take a closer look at the nation’s employment laws and what you should know before taking your company to the next level.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines is a series of islands in the Southern Caribbean Sea. The country is situated between Saint Lucia and Grenada, and it’s well-known for its volcanoes and sailing destinations. It has a relatively free economy, and it offers promise for business owners wishing to expand their companies to its shores.
With an economy built on agriculture and tourism, many companies have to opportunity to succeed in this island nation. If you’re looking to expand your business here, you’ll work with a set of employment laws that have unique parameters for every employment sector. The labor laws cover:
- Agricultural workers
- Domestic workers
- Industrial workers
- Shop assistants
- Office professionals
- Hotel workers
- Security guards
With the help of Globalization Partners, you can stay compliant regardless of your employment sector.
Saint Vincent and the Grenadines labor laws require a written contract for employees unless they are daily or weekly workers. Employment contracts should cover all aspects of the position, including:
- Start date
- Name and address of both parties
- Rate of pay and overtime
- Pay period
- Working hours and time off
- Rate of vacation, sick leave, and maternity leave if applicable
- The duties of the position
An employer must provide this document within seven days of the start of employment. Failure to provide a contract within the allotted time will result in a fine of at least EC$1,000.
Working hours vary from one sector to another. The Wages Regulations Order of 2003 details the terms of every employee type, from agriculture workers to shop assistants. The total weekly hours range from 44 to 48 hours, and a standard workday is eight hours, but there are exceptions.
For example, domestic workers can work up to 11 hours a day if their employers provide live-in accommodation. They can work 10 hours a day if housing is not provided. Both of these workdays require two hours of rest. Security guards can only work eight hours during the day but up to 12 hours at night.
Generally, overtime is any amount of time over the prescribed working hours. Employers must provide one and half times an employee’s standard wages for overtime. Sunday is regarded as overtime in positions like industrial and agricultural work. On Sundays, these workers must receive 200 percent of their usual wages.
Much like working hours, vacation leave provisions are based on the job type an employee falls under. Employers can determine required vacation days based on the amount of time an employee has served. Workers might start with as little as five vacation days or as many as 14.
Agricultural and industrial workers gain vacation days based on the number of days they’ve worked, while other types of employees earn vacation based on the number of years they’ve served. Some professions earn up to three weeks of vacation time per year.
Sick leave provisions also rely on the employment sector. Depending on the type of employee, a worker may earn up to three weeks of sick leave. All industries require a medical certificate after three consecutive days of sick leave, and the National Insurance Services (NIS) will cover sick time based on an employee’s benefits.
Every sector requires workers to receive 30 days off when surgery is needed.
The 11 public holidays on the island nation are:
- New Year’s Day
- National Heroes Day
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Labor Day
- Whit Monday
- Emancipation Day
- Independence Day
- Christmas Day
- Boxing Day
While some industries may earn time off for public holidays, others do not. Specific sectors require overtime pay when employees work on a public holiday. These employment types include agriculture, industrial work, watchmen positions, office professionals, and shop assistants.
While many terms vary according to employment type, maternity leave regulations are the same for every sector. After two years of service, an employee can take four weeks of maternity leave with 35 percent of standard wages.
Termination and Severance
The nation’s termination policy covers every type of employment, regardless of sector. An employer may terminate an employee with good cause at any time. Good cause classifies as:
- Misconduct in the workplace
- Being guilty of a criminal offense
- Unsatisfactory performance
- Lack of capability or qualifications
In these instances, the employer does not owe the worker severance pay. The employer must provide two written warnings for termination. If the employee does not change their behavior within three months, termination will take effect.
An employer must provide notice or payment in place of notice when they wish to terminate a contract outside of good cause. Notice periods depend on an employee’s pay schedule.
For weekly employees, notice is as follows:
- One week for less than one year of service
- Two weeks for one to three years of service
- Three weeks for three to six years of service
- Four weeks for over six years.
For biweekly employees, notice is:
- Two weeks for under two years
- Three weeks for two to six years
- Four weeks for over six years
Monthly employees must receive four weeks of notice regardless of the number of years they’ve worked. If an employer must terminate a contract due to redundancy or illness, the employee is entitled to severance pay. The calculation is based on the amount of time served.
The country operates on a progressive income tax system with percentages between 10 and 30. Alongside income tax deductions, employers must deduct NIS contributions.
The government offers health care support through the NIS. Employers are responsible for ensuring their employees are registered with the NIS within seven days of starting employment. Private health insurance schemes are not required.
Bonuses and Additional Benefits
The labor regulations in Saint Vincent and the Grenadines do not detail any required bonuses or additional benefits for employees. An employer may offer these provisions at their discretion.
Expand Business to Saint Vincent and the Grenadines With Globalization Partners
Globalization Partners can help you manage the details of your expansion so you can focus on growing your business. Get in touch with us today to learn more.