ZCTU wants to plug holes in maternity law

Sun, 05 Mar 2017 10:02:33 +0000

 

By CHINTU MALAMBO

ZAMBIA Congress of Trade Unions (ZCTU) is working towards dialogue with the Government to revise the Statutory Instrument (SI) on conditions of employment especially for women and the minimum wage.

ZCTU secretary general Cosmas Mukuka said the SI provided maternity leaves without pay only for certain group of workers, leaving domestic workers unprotected from loss of income resulting from pregnancy.

Speaking in an interview, Mr Mukuka said domestic workers now have a trade union and the issue concerning conditions of
employment will be handled through serious negotiation.

“The current labour laws provide for maternity leave and benefits as well as paid sick leave and benefits as an accompaniment when medically necessary,” he said.

Mr Mukuka said maternity leave and payment was provided for by the Employment Act, minimum wage legislations and various
collective agreements.

He said, currently, the law allowed for 12 weeks with full pay upon completion of two years of continuous service or in cases where two years had elapsed since the last maternity leave was taken.

“This means that only an employee who has served in a company or organization for two continuous years is eligible to take maternity leave,’’ he said.

Mr Mukuka said trade unions have a vital role to play in raising awareness and improving maternity protection in the workplace and beyond.

“We have the responsibility to share such information with the workforce, the wider labour movement and relevant authorities, as appropriate, as well as with employers and employers’ associations,” he said.

Mr Mukuka said it was therefore important that trade unions engaged in social dialogue on maternity protection transformations including maternity leave, cash benefits, non-discrimination and
protection of employment, and health protection at the workplace.

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