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Trinidad and Tobago - Employment

Much of the employment in Trinidad and Tobago is concentrated in the gas, oil and tourism industries. Expat workers must have a valid work permit if they are doing any work that lasts for longer than a 30 day period.

Relations between workers and employers tend to be very good. There are some union-style organisations that can negotiate with the employer if required and who can arrange employment terms and conditions. Those who are employed by the state such as teachers, workers in the emergency services and civil servants and their terms and conditions are generally organised by legislation. Each group has its own piece of legislation which determines working hours, leave entitlements, pay and other benefits.

Many larger companies will have human resources departments or an industrial relations manager whose job it is to negotiate with unions and workers. If not, then there are private negotiators which can be hired to negotiate on their behalf.

Working hours for most people tend to be from 8 am to 4 pm five days a week. Most people will work a maximum of 8 hours a day. There is also a minimum wages order which stipulates details of rest and meal breaks, but this only applies to those who earn $10.50 or less. Those who earn more than this who are not part of a union have to negotiate their own terms and conditions. The minimum wage in Trinidad and Tobago is $7.00.

Trinidad and Tobago has no standard leave entitlement so this is decided by the legislation for the public workers or the negotiated terms of private sector workers. All workers are entitled to paid public holidays.

Much of the work in the islands tends to be in the main industries of oil and gas, although tourism also provides many jobs, although much of this work is seasonal. The average worker earns between $2000 and $4000 each month, although menial workers will earn less than this.

As a large number of young people will leave the islands to study at universities abroad, many of them will choose to remain abroad for several years afterwards, meaning that the islands will have a shortage of professional workers in some fields. This means that expats who are seeking work in these areas will have a good chance of obtaining a work permit. Medical staff and skilled professionals in the oil industry are among those that are in demand.

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