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How Many Sick Days Do You Get A Year In Jamaica?

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government_workers_in_jamaica.jpgHow Many Sick Days Do You Get A Year In Jamaica?

by Venesha Johnson | Associate Writer

Are you considering working in Jamaica? If yes, one thing I am sure you will be curious about is the benefits employers are obligated to provide by law to their employees. Of course, one of the main questions is, how many sick days do you get a year in Jamaica?


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Employees are entitled to ten (10) days of sick leave annually under the Holidays with Pay Order (1973). For every 22 days worked beyond 110 but fewer than 220, an employee is entitled to one day of paid sick time.

They are entitled to the full two weeks of sick leave after 220 days of employment. Employees with more than ten years of continuous employment are eligible for three weeks of paid leave. The Holidays with Pay Order stipulates that the employee would get paid to their credit while on sick leave. The employee still has the right to take the amount of unpaid time off that the doctor specifies if they are not eligible for sick leave with pay.

In the private sector, you will find that some companies allow employees to cash out unused sick days at the end of the year, however, this is not a requirement by the government and is completely up to the company’s discretion.

Maternity and Paternity Leave in Jamaica

The employee must be at least 18 years old to be eligible for maternity leave. They must be employed consistently for at least 52 weeks by the same employer as of the start of the maternity leave (the employee must have completed 52 weeks before going on maternity leave).

If the employer asks the employee to provide a medical certificate saying that the employee must be absent due to pregnancy-related reasons, the employee is compelled to do so. The worker must be at least 28 weeks along with working at least 18 hours every week (not necessary to work a 40 hour-work-week).

A qualified employee is entitled to a minimum of twelve (12) weeks of unpaid maternity leave, of which the first eight (8) weeks should be covered by compensation. The Act allows for an additional fourteen (14) weeks of leave upon submission of a medical certificate if a medical cause (such as a mother's or child's illness) requires an extension of the original 12 weeks of maternity leave. If an extension is required, it won't be paid for unless the employer wants to.

As of January 1st 2023, there will be an increase in paid maternity leave to 3 calendar months, paternity leave and leave for adoptive parents with a new child will also be implemented.

Paid Time off and Vacation Days

Vacation days work similarly to sick days and are accrued in the same manner. Every year, employees are given two weeks of paid time off. Those who have worked more than ten years continuously are eligible for three weeks of paid leave. The employee qualifies and becomes eligible for paid vacation time after one year of employment (every 12 months beginning on the first day of employment). The fundamental tenet is that an employee earns vacation time by working a predetermined number of days during the year. Payment for vacation time is made either in advance of the holiday or at another time decided upon by the parties. When the employer is giving the notice to terminate employment, vacation leave cannot be awarded.

In the private sector, some employers allow unused vacation days to roll over to the following year, while others will ask that unused vacation days be cashed out at the end of each year.

Sick leave, maternity and soon paternity leave, and also vacation leave are the only benefits that are a requirement by law for employers to provide. However, some companies offer many additional benefits such as health and life insurance, bereavement time off, pay for the days that an employee will have to attend jury duties, floating holidays and much more. These are of course all based on each company's unique guidelines.

Now, since you will be living in Jamaica, you will need some advice on living like a local. Maura shares her tips with us on how she does it.

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References & Sources For How Many Sick Days Do You Get A Year In Jamaica

  1. FAQ (no date) Ministry of Labour and Social Security. Available at: https://www.mlss.gov.jm/faq/ (Accessed: November 29, 2022).
  2. Jamaica (2022) Papaya Global. Available at: https://www.papayaglobal.com/countrypedia/country/jamaica/ (Accessed: November 29, 2022).
  3. Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime (2022) Paternity leave comes into effect January 1, 2023, Jamaica Observer. Jamaica Observer. Available at: https://www.jamaicaobserver.com/latest-news/paternity-leave-comes-into-effect-january-1-2023/ (Accessed: November 29, 2022).

How Many Sick Days Do You Get A Year In Jamaica | Written: November 29, 2022

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