Antigua and Barbuda ratifies convention against harassment in the workplace

The content originally appeared on: Antigua News Room

Antigua and Barbuda became the first country in the Caribbean to ratify the Violence and Harassment Convention, 2019 (No. 190). CLICK HERE TO JOIN OUR WHATSAPP GROUP.

Antigua and Barbuda’s ratification of this landmark instrument demonstrates its commitment to ensuring that everyone has the right to a world of work free from violence and harassment. It becomes the 14th member State to ratify this ILO Convention1.

Convention No. 190 is the newest ILO Convention and the first to address violence and harassment in the world of work. Together with the Violence and Harassment Recommendation, 2019 (No. 206), it provides a common framework for action for addressing violence and harassment in the world of work, including gender-based violence, and for shaping a future of work based on dignity and respect.

Upon ratification, Hon. Minister Steadroy O. Benjamin, Attorney General of Antigua and Barbuda, and Minister responsible for Legal Affairs, Labour, Immigration and Police stated “the ratification of this important Convention signals the Government’s commitment to guaranteeing workplaces free of all forms of violence and harassment, including bullying.

The mental and physical well-being of the workforce is of utmost importance to this Government and all workplaces are expected to adhere closely to the tenets of Convention No. 190.” He further indicated that “work is being done to draft a national policy on workplace violence and harassment spearheaded by the Ministry responsible for Gender Affairs and with full support from the Ministry Legal Affairs. It is this Government’s intention to legislate against workplace violence and harassment.”

Antigua and Barbuda also deposited the ratification for the Maternity Protection Convention, 2000 (No. 183), the most up-to-date and comprehensive international labour standard on maternity protection.

Through this ratification, Antigua and Barbuda re-affirms its commitment to strengthening all dimensions of maternity protection. The implementation of Convention No. 183 contributes to the health, safety and well-being of pregnant women, new mothers and new-borns and is an important step towards the achievement of gender equality in the world of work.

Safeguarding the health of expectant and nursing mothers, protecting them from job discrimination and ensuring income continuation or replacement during periods of leave is a precondition for achieving genuine equality of opportunity and treatment for men and women at work and enabling workers to raise families in health and security.

Prior to the ratification, Antigua and Barbuda adopted important amendments to its Labour Code in April 2022, extending the period of maternity leave from 12 weeks to 14 weeks. Antigua and Barbuda is the 42nd country in the world to ratify the Convention.

The Director of the ILO Decent Work Team and Office for the Caribbean, Dennis Zulu, welcomed both ratifications: “Today, I congratulate Antigua and Barbuda as the first country in the Caribbean to ratify the landmark Convention No. 190. Violence and harassment touch all countries and all sectors, and constituents around the Caribbean are strengthening their fight against the global problem.

Governments, workers’ and employers’ organizations in the region are showing leadership and undertaking new initiatives to prevent and address the complex phenomenon. Through this ratification, Antigua and Barbuda formally commits to implement and enforce the provisions of Convention No. 190, which are important steps towards achieving a world of work based on dignity and respect.

I also welcome the significant commitment of the Government to strengthening maternity protection, in all its dimensions, through the ratification of Convention No. 183. The implementation of this Convention is key for the achievement of gender equality in the world of work and I commend Antigua and Barbuda’s engagement on this pressing issue.”

These two ratifications follow a momentous 9 ratifications by Antigua and Barbuda in 2021.

To date, Antigua and Barbuda has ratified 38 Conventions (30 of which are in force) and 2 Protocols. For further information, see NORMLEX.