ZUFIAW says exemptions made by labour minister Joyce Nonde Simukoko on the 2019 Employment Code do not stop employers from paying annual leave allowances.
Recently, Simukoko signed Statutory Instrument No. 48 of 2020 which relaxed some obligations on employers that are stipulated in the Code, in view of the coronavirus pandemic.
However, most employers understood the SI to mean that they should not pay their workers annual leave and other allowances.
Clarifying the misconception yesterday, Zambia Union of Financial Institutions and Allied Workers (ZUFIAW) general secretary Chingati Msiska said the SI mainly made changes to the formula to be used when paying allowances.
“The exemptions stipulated in the SI do not necessarily repeal the law and, nor exempt employers from paying Annual Leave Allowance altogether. These provisions only exempt the employer from paying Annual Leave Allowance at the rate prescribed by the formula on schedule 5 of the Employment Code Act No. 3 of 2019,” he said. “This is because stakeholders acknowledged that the formula for computing the new leave allowance had a mistake which needed to be rectified and as such the ministry took the decision to exempt employers from using this formula for computation of the same in the meantime. In this regard, employers will now revert to the previous modes of computation they were using for Annual Leave Allowance before the Employment Code took effect.”
Msiska warned employers against forcing employees to forfeit their leave days.
He stated that ZUFIAW would do everything in its power to protect workers’ rights.
“Note that Employer should also not force workers to forfeit their leave days not taken in any particular year and these should be carried forward into the following year. In the past, some employers have taken advantage of workers and forced them to take their leave days during bereavement or illness despite compassionate leave being in place. We urge all our members to report any such employer to the union and the union shall ensure that the law takes its full course,” stated Msiska. “We would like to also commend those institutions that are adhering to the provisions of the law and made the smooth transition back to the old system of computation without disadvantaging workers.”