Employees’ session prompts further talks on Sunday Holiday Amendment

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By Elesha George

Representative agencies of employees in Antigua and Barbuda will meet again next Friday to hold further discussions on the amendments to be made to the Public Holidays Act CAP 354.

Yesterday, the Attorney General and Minister of Labour Steadroy “Cutie” Benjamin presented a draft bill of the proposed amendment, which seeks to repeal and replace the observance of Sunday as a common law holiday.

The recommendation has been for an amendment note to be installed in the legislation, to safeguard the entities and stake holders that need protection for the purpose of employment relations.

The 2019 draft amendment therefore states “Note: For the purpose of any enactment dealing with employment, employment standards and industrial relations, Sundays are not observed as common law holidays”.

Majority of those present felt that the amendment as it stands, does not give significant protection for the religious rights of citizens and, to an extent, excludes persons who worship on Saturdays, mainly Seventh-day Adventists.

President of the Antigua & Barbuda Council of Church Leaders, Bishop Charlesworth Browne rejected the circulated proposed bill, stating that the law is good as it stands. He believes that any change to the current legislation will strip Sunday worshippers of their sacramental right.

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