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Riu Paradise Island headed for second shutdown

Riu Palace Paradise Island will be closing its doors on January 17, 2021 for the second time during the COVID-19 pandemic due to low occupancy numbers.

Staff fear they will be sent home without a dollar once again due to the never-ending Emergency Orders that allow workers to be furloughed indefinitely.

The Minnis Administration screwed over hotel workers when it suspended section 28 of the Employment Act in the Emergency Orders, which have been in effect since March 2020.

Section 28 of the Employment (Amendment) Act, 2017 specifies the period of time an employee can be laid off before being considered redundant. 

Riu employees were sent home for nearly nine months last year before the Paradise Island property reopened at the end of 2020.

Riu has continuously indicated its ability to pay out severance packages to employees once the state of emergency ends.

However, Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis has extended the state of emergency several times, negatively impacting hotel workers who have demanded severance packages in order to move on with their lives.

Riu, which could remain closed until Easter, has informed employees that the hotel is willing to pay off those who request severance. Payments will be issued to a group of employees by the end of January.

However, everyone will not be paid off as long as the state of emergency remains in effect. Riu has informed staff that they will only offer severance to all employees if bookings remain extremely low for rest of the year.

Instead they are stuck on furlough and forced to rely on inconsistent unemployment checks from the National Insurance Board.

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