KINGSTON, Jamaica; Several persons who have been selected to serve as Election Day Workers in the upcoming Local Government Elections have been withdrawing from Election duties. This is as a result of being denied permission from their employers to perform the civic duty. Director of Elections, Orrette Fisher, is appealing to these employers to assist the process by granting their staff time-off without penalty.
“I wish to express appreciation to the private sector employers who have allowed their employees time-off to be Election Day Workers. On the other hand, there are some employees who are having great difficulty getting permission to work on Election Day,” he said.
“I am appealing to these employers to assist the process by allowing them the day off. We understand that Election Day is a regular business day and for many employers, especially in smaller businesses, this is a great sacrifice. However, the success and integrity of the electoral process depends heavily on the availability of honest, hardworking, capable, civic-minded individuals,” he pleaded.
The Director is hoping that employers will reconsider their position and make the necessary arrangements to allow their staff to participate. The Electoral Office of Jamaica is, however, reassuring the public that, at this time, the decline in the number of workers, although of concern, is not yet at the stage where polling stations will not be adequately staffed. The office is at present assigning workers selected as reserves in such an eventuality, to take up these positions.
In the public sector, employees who serve as Election Day Workers are regarded as being on duty while performing these functions. Their absence from their substantive jobs is not treated as leave.
Employers are also being reminded that employees are entitled to three hours’ time-off to vote on Election Day, in addition to the normal lunch hour. This however, does not apply to persons who begin work at 10 a.m. or after and leave work at 2 p.m. or before.