Last updated on: July 7th, 2022
The Labour Law in Guyana is regulated mainly by the Labor Act of 1942 (amended as of 1997). The Law governs the terms and conditions of employment such as working hours, holidays and rest periods, wages, overtime, and other employment conditions. Other laws governing the employment law in Guyana are the Leave with Pay Act of 1995, Public Holiday Act of 1916, Labour (Conditions of Employment of Certain Workers) Act of 1995 and National Insurance and Social Benefit Act.
Hours & Pay Regulations
Normal Working Hours
The government authority shall make regulations defining the number of hours which may normally be worked by an employee on any day or week in any occupation. The number of working hours may be set differently for various categories of work. such as all Industries classified as factories generally have 8 hours working per day. Labour Act of 1942 (amended as of 1997) § 29 and 94.
An employer shall maintain records of wages paid along with a register of holidays for each of the employees in the establishment. Labour Act of 1942 (amended as of 1997) § 10 and Leave with Pay Act, 1978 (amended as of 2005), § 8 and Labor (Conditions of employment of certain workers), 1995 (amended as of 2005), § 82.
Any work performed in excess of the regular working hours as may have been agreed between the employer and employee is considered overtime. Though the law states that employees shall be entitled to overtime pay if they work more than 7 and one quarter of an hour, as a general practice in various industries employees are entitled to overtime pay after 8 hours of the work day.
The employer shall provide a break of at least 15 minutes for a meal every 4 hours of overtime work performed in a day.
Pay – An employee who performs overtime work is entitled to a premium of 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate of pay. Labor (Conditions of employment of certain workers), 1995 (amended as of 2005), § 4.
An employee is entitled to a break for a period of at least 1 hour for the purpose of lunch or dinner.
The employer shall also provide a break for a meal of at least 15 minutes every 4 hours in case of overtime. Labor (Conditions of employment of certain workers), 1995 (amended as of 2005), § 5.
Weekly Rest – An employee is entitled to at least 1 day’s rest each week. The employer shall also provide half a day of rest on alternate Sundays to each employee whose weekly assigned day of rest is not Sunday. A weekly day of rest is usually provided on Sunday unless an agreement states otherwise. Labor (Conditions of employment of certain workers), 1995 (amended as of 2005), § 4 and 7.
Work On Rest Days
An employee who works on a weekly rest day is entitled to a premium of 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate of pay for each hour worked on a weekly rest day. Labor (Conditions of employment of certain workers), 1995 (amended as of 2005), § 4 and 7.
Employees are entitled to the following 12 public holidays:
- First weekday in January
- Republic Day – 23rd February
- Good Friday
- Easter Monday
- Labour Day – 1st May
- Commonwealth Day (the First Monday in the month of August)
- Christmas Day – 25th Dec
- Boxing Day – 26th Dec
- Phagwah Day
- Deepavali Day
- Eid Ul Azha Day
- Youman Nabi Day
In case, Christmas day falls on a Sunday, then the employees are entitled to a holiday on the following day. If December 26 falls on a Sunday, then the employees shall get the holiday on the following day and in case the Christmas day falls on Sunday, the employee will get a holiday on Tuesday.
In case, Phagwah day, Deepavali day, Eid Ul Azha Day, or Youman Nabi Day falls on a Sunday, then the employees are entitled to a holiday on the following day.
The labor ministry may appoint any day to be observed as a public holiday to be added or in substitution for any of the public holidays stated above.
Work on a Public Holiday – An employee who performs overtime work on a public holiday is entitled to a premium of 1.5 times the employee’s hourly rate of pay for each hour worked on the holiday. Public Holidays Act, 1919 (amended as of 1969), § 3 and Labor (Conditions of employment of certain workers), 1995 (amended as of 2005), § 4.
An employee is entitled to 1 day of paid leave for each completed month of employment with the employer. Hence an employee who is working on a daily or hourly basis is entitled to 1 day of paid leave for every 20 days worked or 160 hours worked respectively.
Employees who are employed on a half-day basis shall have a half-day counted as a whole day for the purpose of computation of employment and annual leave.
An employer shall not require the employee to take annual leave for a period of less than 6 consecutive days. However, any public holiday or Sunday shall not be computed as part of the annual leave.
Timing of annual leave – The vacation shall be given and taken by the employee within a period of 3 months or any other period as may have been agreed between the employer and employee calculated from the date on which the entitlement to annual leave is accrued by the employee.
The employer shall decide the date on which annual leave shall be taken keeping into consideration the interests of the employee.
Annual leave pay – An employee shall be paid at the regular rate of pay for each day of the annual leave.
Termination of employment – An employee whose employment is terminated shall be paid a sum of wages for the amount of unused annual leave. Leave with Pay Act, 1978 (amended as of 2005), § 3 – 7
Effective July 1, 2022, the statutory minimum wage in Guyana is GYD 60,147 per month.
An employee who is incapable to perform work due to illness or injury arising due to reasons other than employment is entitled to sickness benefit. The employee will receive the sickness benefit from the 4th day of incapacity. The first 3 days of sickness are not paid. For the purpose of calculating sickness benefit, Sunday or any other day as may be determined by the government authority as holiday shall not be considered in computing any period of consecutive days. An Insured employee who is above the age of 60 shall not be entitled to the sickness benefit.
The claim for sickness benefit shall be made along with a medical certificate or such other evidence as may be determined by the government authority.
The sickness benefit is paid for each day (excluding Sunday or any other day as may be determined by the government authority to be disregarded in the calculation of the period of consecutive days) for a period of 26 weeks in any continuous period of incapacity for work.
However, any two periods of incapacity for work which is not separated by 8 weeks shall be considered as one continuous period of incapacity for work calculated from the first day of first of such incapacity for work period.
Pay – The employee is entitled to a daily rate of sickness benefit which is paid by the National Insurance. National Insurance and Social Security Act, 1969 (amended as of 1971), § 20 – 23.
An employee is entitled to maternity leave for a period of 13 weeks. An employee can start their leave 6 weeks before the expected date of delivery. The leave can also be extended for an additional 13 weeks in case the employee is still incapable of work as a result of complications arising directly out of the pregnancy and delivery of the child.
Pay – Employees are paid at the rate of 70% of average insurable earnings and are paid by the National Insurance for the duration of maternity leave. The employees are also entitled to a maternity grant of 2000 dollars. National Insurance and Social Security Act, 1969 (amended as of 1971), § 27 – 33.