Bermuda Job Terms and Conditions
Job offers including terms and conditions in Bermuda varies from one employer to the other, and also depends on the position of the job and the industry. However, a lot of those can often be negotiated in advance in your favor. Good employers in Bermuda can be quite generous and support some of your one time as well as fixed costs, some of which can be very high. While other employers may not do so.
Living cost in Bermuda
by the way is one of the highest in the world. It is almost 4 times that of US, near 3 times of Canada and 2 times of UK. So an apparently high salary offered by an employer in Bermuda plus enticements like no direct tax (like income tax) can often be quite misleading. You will end up spending a lot in form of indirect taxes, house rents, car license, gas, electricity and even on food and other basic living essentials.
Unless you negotiate well with the terms and conditions of your employment, much of these high costs would be passed on to you. And your salary will soon look like far less realistic that what you thought.
Job terms that can be negotiated
Here are the job terms that you should negotiate well with any Bermuda employer:
Cost of travel to Bermuda
Who should bear your travel cost to Bermuda? In most cases the employer in Bermuda does. I don't think it's worth considering an employer who does not do this. The next question is whether your return fare is paid for, and how many times a year? If you take a vacation and go back to your home country, in some cases the employer pays for the return airfare for your vacation travel as well.
Travel cost for families
If you have a family, who pays for the return airfare of your spouse and children, including their travel back home during your vacation time? Good employers agree to fund the trips for families as well. You should also ask for any one time relocation cost (carrying and forwarding) that you will incur while moving to Bermuda. Some employers fund that.
Bermuda customs duty
All your belongings that you bring to Bermuda including laptops, cameras etc. will be charged a 25% - 35% customs duty (see Bermuda customs duty
). Used clothes and books are exempted. Even all the household stuff that you bring through freight by sea or air are also charged the same customs duty. You should ask your employer to bear this cost or a part of it.
Initial housing in Bermuda
Most employers will arrange for an initial accommodation for you and your family generally for three months. Sometimes they put you up in a small hotel. However, good employers arrange and pay for this initial accommodation. You are expected to find a house or apartment rental for permanent accommodation within this period.
Permanent accommodation in Bermuda
House or apartment rentals in Bermuda vary widely and generally far more expensive than US or UK. A one-room apartment can be about $2500 a month and an upscale ocean facing 3-bedroom house rental can go well over $15,000 a month.
Generally an employer should provide house rent allowance in addition to your salary. However the question is how much. Best employers cover the full rent. Many do it partially and up to a certain percentage of your salary (20% or so). A public sector employer should subsidize any rental amount above 25% of your monthly gross salary.
You should negotiate house rent allowance with your employer as this is one of the major recurring costs in Bermuda and can be easily 30% of your salary.
Another factor to remember is always ensure that the telephone number, electricity and cable TV at the property are in your name when you arrive and disconnected from your name when you leave.
Car and license fee in Bermuda
Will your employer provide a car and car allowance. The annual license fee for cars in Bermuda is the highest. It is to the tune of $500 for mid size cars and much higher for heavy vehicles. Ask your employer to bear this cost. Also the petrol (gasoline) cost is 3 times more than in US and Canada, almost same as in UK. Some employers provide car fuel allowance.
Electricity cost in Bermuda
Electricity cost in Bermuda can be 3 times than in the US or Canada. Some companies offer this.
All employers are supposed to cover you and your spouse and children under some health insurance scheme by law. Any insurance from your own home country will not work in Bermuda. You should understand the coverage of the medical insurance that your employer provides in Bermuda. Check whether all the major medical are covered in the scheme and who pays for it. Many good employers provide full coverage at their cost. Some provide basic coverage for the first year and comprehensive coverage after one year.
Terms and Conditions of Employment
As per Bermuda Employment and Labor Law
From a statutory perspective, one of the main sources of employment law, the Employment Act deals with employment standards, rights etc. and expatriate workers do acquire rights of protections pursuant to this Act.
The Act also states that a statement of employment be given to the employee within a week of his joining the employer. The various particulars of employment should be mentioned such as, job title, brief description of the work, salary details, hours of work/holiday, notice, probationary period etc.
Other minimum terms and conditions that are set out in the Employment Act include vacation pay, overtime pay, hours of work, holidays, leave of absence and termination of employment. There is however no statutory minimum wage in Bermuda.
Maternity and Family leave rights
A pregnant employee who has been employed for less than a year with the employer, has 8 weeks of unpaid leave.
After a year of employment, a pregnant employee has 12 weeks of maternity leave (8 weeks paid and 4 weeks unpaid).
The employee must notify the employer at least 2 weeks prior to the date she intends to resume work. This is in order to be able to resume work at the same level of seniority or at least the same level of wages, benefits etc. as she was receiving before her leave.
Although Paternity leave is not provided for under this Act, in practice most employers allow a week of paid paternity leave contractually.
Again, there is no statutory provision for employees to work flexibly if they have to care for dependants. However, employers can choose to allow that upon their discretion either contractually or informally.
Points you should discuss with your employer before signing a contract
Before arriving on the island, ask your Bermuda employer whether they will a) contact Bermuda customs and confirm that you will not need to pay for, or b) refund you in full any customs duties that you might have to pay for such goods as a laptop, digital camera, mobile phone, any other personal effects.
Clarify with your employer if any customs duty may exceed your $100 per household (not per person) allowance. Now Bermuda Customs charges 25-35% of assessed value for all personal imports, including shoes, clothing etc., exceeding the said amount.
Will you be paid for your 2-way air-fare during the period of your employment? If so, how often? That is, will it be just once, once a year for annual vacation etc.? Moreover, will it include your spouse and child too?
Many local employers give housing allowance too. Negotiate whether it will cover 100% of your rent, utilities etc. or just a portion and how much will be expected of you to pay in effect.
Some employers also offer electricity costs as these are exorbitant. So see if you will receive electricity allowance.
Will you receive a car allowance? Will it include annual licensing costs? Will they take care of gasoline costs?
Some employers also offer an allowance for domestic help. So check if it is included.
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