JEF boss welcomes work-from-home approach

March 02, 2021

President of the Jamaica Employers' Federation (JEF) David Wan is commending the government's decision to implement strict work-from-home orders for public sector workers.

Prime Minister Andrew Holness made the announcement on Sunday at a media briefing at Jamaica House, where new and extended measures under the Disaster Risk Management Act were declared to help contain the spread of the novel coronavirus. Wan said the work-from-home measure is the "correct approach".

"The private sector, as you might know, has been experimenting with work-from-home ever since the pandemic hit last year and I think industry by industry, there is a different comfort level with remote working," he said. Wan noted that for one banking financial institution, more than 60 per cent of the workers are remotely working.

He recommends that the Government increase the monitoring of workspaces and public spaces, to ensure there is adherence to COVID-19 protocols.

"You have a lot of regulations and best practices that the Ministry of Health has put out for workplaces for example, but there is not enough compliance and monitoring by the authorities workspaces," Wan stressed. He said there should be regular checks for sanitisation stations and evidence of physical distancing within the workplace. Wan said he welcomed the orders instead of a lockdown, as the latter would be too great of an economic price to pay.

"You would have little coronavirus cases but very little income. Remember, it is only about 75 per cent of the workforce, according to JEF estimates, is not able to work remotely. Which means if they are going to be staying home and not working, that is no income," he explained.

The work-from-home orders will take effect on Thursday, March 4 for public sector workers, while private sector businesses are encouraged to evaluate their operations to see where remote working arrangements could be accommodated.

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