A closer look into the Labour Inspectorate Unit
The Labour Inspectorate Unit is the monitoring and enforcement arm of the Ministry of Labour with responsibility for enforcing the country's labour laws related to the minimum wage, maternity protection and the employment of children under the age of 18 years.
In addition, Labour Inspectors provide information and advice to employees about their labour rights under the various pieces of legislation. Inspectors also provide information and advice to employers about their responsibilities and how best to comply with the legislation.
The three (3) pieces of legislation under the jurisdiction of the Unit are:
- Minimum Wages Act, Chapter 88:04 and the Minimum Wage Orders;
- The Maternity Protection Act, Chapter 45:47 (as amended)
- Children Act, 2012 (Part XIV - Employment of Young Persons)
Labour Inspectors investigate complaints and also conduct routine inspections by visiting establishments to interview employers and workers and also inspect wage records and timesheets to ensure compliance.
Workers, including ex-employees, can make complaints to the Unit if they suspect that an employer is not providing the correct terms and conditions of service as prescribed in law. A worker may complain about underpayment of the minimum wage of $17.50 per hour, outstanding wages, non-payment of overtime rates for work in excess of 8 hours per day or in excess of 40 hours per week, non-payment of special rates for work done on a public holiday, no meal break, non-payment for vacation leave and sick leave. These terms and conditions of service are also applicable to migrant workers.
Minimum wage workers are entitled to the benefits identified above if they earn an hourly rate of $17.50 to $26.25, a weekly rate of $700.00 to $1,050.00 or a monthly salary of $3,033.00 to $4,550.00.
While the minimum wage and other terms and conditions of work apply to all workers, legal entitlement to vacation leave and sick leave are currently limited to specific categories.
Pregnant workers can also lodge complaints if an employer refuses to or fails to pay maternity leave benefits in accordance with the Maternity Protection Act or fails to grant reasonable time-off with pay, to seek prenatal care.
In accordance with the Children Act, Part XIV, the minimum age for employment is 16 years. The minimum age is consistent with the Education Act which stipulates that it is mandatory for a child between the ages of 5 to 15 years to attend school. Therefore, it is illegal to employ a child under the age of 16 years.
Persons wishing to access additional information, can contact the Labour Inspectorate Unit:
- Duke Place, Level 3, 50-54 Duke Street, Port of Spain or Hosein's Building #40-42 St. James Street, Level 3, San Fernando
- Telephone: 299-0300 Option 3 or 285 - 5133 Option 4
For additional information and to access additional resources, click: https://www.labour.gov.tt/services/labour-inspectorate