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Employers insist on suspension of new Employment Act

By SILUMESI MALUMO
THE Zambia Federation of Employers (ZFE) has insisted that the draconian Employment Act must be suspended because it will harm many employers.
And Labour and Social Security Minister, Joyce Nonde-Simukoko has clarified that while the Employment Act may not be suspended, there is need to review proposals in the act and come with mitigation actions which will make businesses to remain viable.
Ms Nonde-Simukoko said there was need to come up with proposals that would protect workers and at the same time ensure that business operations were not made worse off.
And acting ZFE president Myra Sakala said most employers were facing financial stress hence the call to halt the implementation until when business thrives.
And Ms Nonde-Simukoko said yesterday during the tripartite consultative labour council meeting in Lusaka, it was important to come up with appropriate interventions that would achieve inclusive growth and development.
However, Ms Nonde-Simukoko said the government would not entertain calls by some stakeholders who want the act with progressive provisions to be suspended.
“What we need to is to look on the provisions that cannot be implemented now because they might affect businesses,” she said.
“This code took eight years to be concluded and there was a lot of consultations. This law was not accidental.
So lamenting that we need to suspend it will not be entertained. Lamenting any how can bring confusion in the country. So what we need to do is that we review and see what can be done,” she said.
Ms Nonde-Simukoko said the prevailing situation caused by Covid-19 had compelled some employers to apply for exemptions from certain obligations as highlighted under section two of the Employment Code Act number 3 of 2019.
The said companies applying for exemptions would be expected to submit certain documents for verifications and assessment.
And Zambia Congress of Trade Unions president Chishimba Nkole said calls to suspend the act were misplaced.
Mr Nkole said the law had progressive provisions and it cannot be suspended.
He said that it was prudent that conditions of the employees should be improved especially in informal sectors.
However, Mrs Sakala said many businesses would be affected if the new law would be effected by May 12, 2020.
It is important that the government listens to employers who will adversely be affected by the new law once implemented, she said.
Mrs Sakala said it was prudent that the law was halted so that employers can be relieved from the negative effects of COVID 19.
Most of employers, Mrs Sakala said, had complained that they would face severe challenges if the law come into effect this month.
Mrs Sakala said that the legislation can be suspended and be implemented at a time when employers would be financially stable.

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