More than 100 small business owners were recently offered free legal advice in a virtual session hosted by C&W Business Jamaica in partnership with law firm Grant, Stewarts, Phillips & Co.
The webinar was held on June 11 and focused on providing assistance to the small businesses under the theme “Transforming My Business: Navigating the New Normal”.
Topics covered during session included contractual agreements, layoffs, redundancies and accessing legal information which will better help them handle the COVID-19 pandemic.
Partner at Grant, Stewarts, Phillips & Co., Kevin Williams, said, “It is critical for you [small business owners] to understand the difference between layoffs and redundancies in order to plan and manage your operations during this time.
“Layoffs provide up to 120 days for you [employers] to ramp up operations and re-engage your employees to return to work while redundancy results in an absolute termination of an employee’s contract,” Williams said.
He continued, “The change in your business model or reduction in foot traffic will mean that hard decisions must be made but it is critical to host consultations and communicate with employees, in writing, about the state of the business and any intention to do layoffs or redundancies. Written communication provides a paper trail when following the steps for layoffs and/or redundancies, as outlined by the law.”
Director of Legal Affairs for the Caribbean, Cable and Wireless Communications, Sola Hines, said, “The impetus for the webinar came from the high impact of COVID-19 on small businesses island wide, including our customers, with many forced to reduce their employees and pivot operations,” adding that “Our concern about the impact on jobs and the future of small businesses led us to consider what information could empower business owners to navigate this new normal. Access to legal advice was top of mind.”
Other presenters included Dwayne Walters, Senior Manager for Small and Medium-sized Businesses & Partner Channels at C&W Business Jamaica, Sandra Glasgow, Founder & CEO at Biztactics Limited and Tanya Davis-Richards, Chief Financial Officer at Sanmera Paper Products Limited.