In a joint meeting held on December 21, The Antigua & Barbuda Chamber of Commerce, The Antigua & Barbuda Employers’ Federation and The Antigua & Barbuda Hotels and Tourism Association have all taken the stance that they will be advising their membership to abide by the proclamation set forth by the Governor General regarding the observed holiday for Boxing Day.
Concerns were raised by the Executives of all bodies after media comments over the weekend by the Attorney General advising that both Saturday the 26th and Monday the 28th will be observed as Boxing Day. The statement that both days would be observed would mean that holiday pay would be due and payable on both days.
The PROCLAMATION dated the 17th day of December 2020 issued by the Governor General states as follows:
(a) declare that it is inexpedient that Saturday the 26th of December 2020, the day appointed a public holiday under the Public Holidays Act, Cap. 354 in commemoration of Boxing Day should be a public holiday; and
(b) instead do appoint Monday the 28th of December 2020 to be the public holiday throughout Antigua and Barbuda commemorating Boxing Day.
The bodies therefore accept that the above point (b) confirms that Monday the 28th (Boxing Day) is the holiday and Saturday 26th is a regular normal working day.
Businesses across Antigua and Barbuda continue to make a slow re-bound following the continued effects of the pandemic. With the news on the weekend of a lockdown in the United Kingdom, there have already been cancellations in the hospitality sector which will deal another blow to the sector. With lay-offs and reduced work hours looming yet again, a knock-on effect will reverberate to the other businesses across our twin island state.
Increasing the payroll cost should both Saturday the 26th and Monday the 28th be recognized as public holidays, would continue to cripple the business sector across Antigua and Barbuda.