Labour and Employment Environment

Do you want to know about the labour and employment environment of the island Barbados?

You may even consider looking for a job on the island, or simply want to refresh your general knowledge. See the overview and access the information provided about finding a job, getting a work permit and employment in Barbados.

Our Barbados Labour and Employment Environment overview gives you a summary of information related to everything you might need to know about the labour and employment environment of Barbados.


Education is Key

Education is highly valued in Barbados. The education system on the island is primarily based on the British model, and the quality of education in Barbados is of a very high standard, perhaps one of the highest in the region. The present system provides quality education at the primary, secondary, as well as tertiary levels.

Each year, Barbados’ high standard of education produces more than adequate supply of professionals, as well as skilled and unskilled labourers. To complement this, the literacy rate in Barbados is estimated to be close to 100%; one of the highest in the world. This can make competition for jobs on the island quite stiff, but not impossible.



Recent unemployment data for the last quarter of 2013 indicates the unemployment rate of Barbados is 13.2%.

The average income of Barbadians is documented as being more fairly distributed than in most countries and Barbadians have ranked as being on the higher end of wages in the Americas.

Working hours for office personnel vary between 35 to 40 hours, while a 40 hour week is the norm for manual workers. Work undertaken in excess of the basic work week and during bank (public) holidays generally attracts premium rates of pay.

Note: Annually, Barbados has twelve paid national bank holidays.


The Barbados Ministry of Labour

The Barbados Ministry of Labour is the main source of the formulation of Barbadian labour policy and is also responsible for the planning and general administration of policies formulated by the Minister.

The Ministry ensures labour legislation and regulations governing the operations under the Minister’s portfolio are in place, relevant to an evolving workforce and are being enforced by relevant agencies.

It aims to develop a socially equal and diverse Barbadian workforce that is well informed and adequately prepared for local, regional and international markets, as well as to establish and encourage the growth of local businesses of all sizes.

The Ministry attempts to make Barbadian employees aware of what rights they are entitled to and the responsibilities they should have to themselves, their colleagues and also to their employer’s.

The Barbados Ministry of Labour provides information to the public about labour standards, legislation and policies impacting the working environment, as well as workplace health and safety guidelines.


Labour Laws

There are a number of labour laws in Barbados that define the rights and responsibilities of all agents in the workplace such as employees, employers and relevant representative groups.

Generally, labour law covers industrial relations, occupational health and safety, and labour standards, reflective of relevant and ratified International Labour Organization (ILO) Conventions.

The ILO sets out international labour standards and defines the basic work principles and rights in a number of conventions and related recommendations.

Visit the ILO website for further details.


Need More Information?

In the list below, you can find related articles and obtain more information about work permits and how to find a job in Barbados.

— Visit the Government of Barbados, Ministry of Labour website at https://labour.gov.bb. There, you will find information for students, jobseekers, employers, employees, and self-employed business people.

There is also an on-line job centre, as well as details of education and training opportunities with the Ministry of Labour, and much more.


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About Totally Barbados (Edit profile)

Brett Callaghan is the founder and managing director of Totally Barbados. I specialize in writing content for the tourism industry for my island home of Barbados. I help companies build strategies to grow online businesses with SMART marketing, advertising, and social media goals.