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Dentons opens offices in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia

Dentons has opened offices in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia as part of its expansion plans in the Caribbean. Dentons is the only Pan-Caribbean law firm, and with more offices in all of Latin America and the Caribbean than any other law firm, Dentons is the first truly Pan-Latin American and the Caribbean law firm in the history of the legal profession.

The British Virgin Islands is widely recognised as a leading international financial centre principally due to its internationally recognised regulatory regime, a well-developed and professional corporate infrastructure, efficient company formation and administration processes, political and economic stability, an internationally renowned and respected commercial court and tax-neutrality. The British Virgin Islands is a world leader for excellence and innovation in financial services and plays an essential role in the global economy. The BVI Business Company is widely used globally as the core of many private wealth, investment and joint venture structures.

“Dentons’ new offices in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia enable us to meet client needs in two additional priority Caribbean markets for our clients,” said Elliott Portnoy, Global CEO of Dentons. “We can now connect our clients to our leading talent in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia as well as to our 19,000+ people in 184 locations across 76 countries around the globe.”

“Dentons continues to execute its strategy to scale the firm across the Latin America and the Caribbean region despite the unprecedented challenges created by COVID-19,” said Joe Andrew, Global Chairman of Dentons. “With offices in 25 countries, Dentons is now present in virtually all of Latin America and the Caribbean – a true differentiator for our clients.”

“Since entering the region in 2016, Dentons has combined with elite firms across Latin America and the Caribbean,” said Jorge Alers, the Latin America and the Caribbean Region CEO of Dentons. “Our new offices in the British Virgin Islands and Saint Lucia complement our strategy to enhance our offshore practices across the Caribbean , as well as in other offshore financial and corporate centers, such as Panama, Uruguay, Mauritius, Ireland, Luxembourg, Hong Kong and Singapore.”

Dentons’ new office in the British Virgin Islands is led by partner Stuart Bruce who has extensive experience handling complex, high-value cross-border matters across Banking and Finance, M&A, Private Equity and Joint Ventures, Corporate and Regulatory advice. In Saint Lucia, Dentons has expertise in Banking and Finance, Corporate, Construction, Employment and Labour, Financial Institutions, Government, Hotels and Leisure, Insurance, Litigation and Dispute Resolution, Public Law and Real Estate.

So far in 2020, Dentons has launched six combinations: Dentons Bingham Greenebaum and Dentons Cohen & Grigsby, the first step in forming a truly national law firm in the United States as part of Dentons’ “Project Golden Spike,” Dentons Kensington Swan in New Zealand, Dentons Lee in South Korea, Dentons Jiménez de Aréchaga in Uruguay and Dentons Rattagan Macchiavello Arocena in Argentina.

Employers’ Rights During the Coronavirus/COVID-19 Outbreak

In accordance with the Law on Occupational Health and Safety and the Code of Obligations, employers must ensure the occupational health and safety of their employees at the workplace. The employer must provide the necessary resources to ensure occupational health and safety at the workplace. It is necessary to take measures such as providing a sufficient amount of soap, cologne and hand disinfectant in the workplace and take measures such as ventilation of the workplace by employers. Employers should avoid risks that could lead to a dangerous situation for their employees, they have to eliminate existing risks, or replace existing risks with non-hazardous or less hazardous factors. If necessary, stopping workplace activities may be considered. In this process, international travel and meetings should also be restricted. Employers should also be informed about the COVID-19 epidemic and the measures taken in the workplace in this context and appropriate instructions should be given to the employees regarding health and safety measures. In this case, employees must also comply with all the measures taken regarding occupational health and safety.

If employees have an infection or suspicious symptoms, they should report these to their employers per their loyalty obligations. This is also important for ensuring occupational health and safety in the workplace. However, the definition of what poses risks should be clearly defined by employers and employees should be informed about this. Employers may recommend that their employees explain their findings, such as infection and suspicion, to their employers and authorised persons such as the workplace’s occupational health and safety board. The employer can’t give instructions to the employers to inform their employers about the symptoms of the disease due to data confidentiality, but this can be recommended to ensure health and safety in the workplace, employees should nevertheless express such concerns in secret. Because of the protection of their health and the health of their colleagues, they need to be careful. Although the employer is not obliged to notify the employees having the infection detected in the workplace to the health institutions, it would be appropriate for the employers to inform the health officials about this situation in case of such danger or suspicion. However, the employer can’t force his employee to be examined if he finds a suspect of infection. This situation can only be recommended. If the employee does not listen to these recommendations, if the employer deems it necessary, the employee can be gone on leave, provided that one is paid.

If employees prefer not to come to work due to the epidemic, the option of shortening their working time or part-time work may be considered. However, according to the Labour Law, changes in working hours must be notified to employees in advance and approved by employees in writing. If the employees do not approve of this change in writing within 6 working days, the employer cannot accept this change. It is also an option to send the employee unilaterally on leave, provided that the employee continues to be paid by the employer and the employee is ready to work. Employer’s encouragement or coercion of employees to work remotely is also one of the measures that can be taken in this epidemic environment. If a decision is taken to work from home in the workplace, employees will continue to receive full salary without any interruption and the employer will provide their employees with the technical equipment necessary to work from home. Employees also have the right to participate in short-term working and receive an allowance. For the employees to benefit from the short-time working allowance, the working hours of the workplace should be temporarily reduced by at least a third or the activities in the workplace should be stopped completely or partially for at least four weeks. If the employer justified the demand for the short-time working of the employee, he can contact the Employment Agency to provide a short-time working allowance for employees up to three months. In the short-time working, half of the wages of the first week are paid by the employer then a certain amount of wages will be paid from the unemployment fund to be deducted from the unemployment allowance. If verified coronavirus cases are detected in the workplace, employees can refrain from working. In this case, employers should continue to pay salaries even if the employees do not perform their duties. In the case of a force majeure such as the spread of the outbreak in Turkey and to threaten the general population, unpaid leave, as long as the mutual agreement of the employer and employee, is another option available to employees. The employer or employee can offer unpaid leave. If the proposal comes from the employee, the request for leave must be reasonable and the time off must be temporary. In the case that an employee does not have a request for unpaid leave with his consent, employers should use this option as a last resort and should never force their employees for unpaid leave. The employer must inform the employee in writing regarding unpaid leave in advance, and the employee must accept this request in writing within 6 business days. If the workplace activities are temporarily suspended and no employee contracts are terminated during this period, the employer is not obliged to inform the Social Security Institution. If the employee cannot participate in workplace activities due to force majeure, the employer is allowed to pay half of his salary for each day to the employee who cannot work for a week, according to the labour law. However, if the force majeure continues for more than a week, the employee or employer may terminate the employment contract for just cause. In this case, the employee will have all legal rights such as severance pay, overtime, unused vacation, but he will not be able to receive notice pay. On the other hand, if the workplace activities are stopped by the authorised institutions, the employer cannot terminate the employment contracts of his employees. However, in this case, the employee may have all legal rights, including severance pay, excluding notice pay, by terminating the employment contract for just cause.