GIS – 14 May, 2020: In his address
at the National Assembly on the COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill yesterday,
the Minister of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training, Mr Soodesh
Callichurn, affirmed that the Bill has been drafted with the objective of
keeping as many jobs as possible, and ensure that Government is sufficiently
equipped to respond to this unprecedented situation resulting from the Covid-19
Minister assured that as a responsible and caring Government, which has at
heart the welfare of the population, the amendments being proposed to the Bill do
not, in whatsoever manner, impinge on the rights of workers. He stressed that swift,
bold and decisive measures have been taken to enable the country to contain the
virus, likewise, exceptional circumstances call for exceptional measures to
prepare the country to meet the challenges of today and position itself for the
recovery of tomorrow.
has been severely impacted by the Covid-19 pandemic, pointed out Mr Callichurn,
and several sectors such as tourism, manufacturing/textile, and construction, are
facing the brunt of slow down. The present Bill has been drafted specifically
to address these challenges, added the Minister. He underlined that the
amendments that are being proposed to the Workers’ Rights Act and the
Employment Relations Act under the COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill
will be temporary and will be restored once the pandemic is over.
main amendments purport to:
delay in payment of contribution of Portable Gratuity Fund. However, employees
going on retirement are entitled to payment of their full gratuity for the
whole length of service
suspension of the payment of night shift allowance which will allow
reallocation of financial resources for the survival of enterprises and
preserving employment. However, in order not to demotivate any worker,
employers are encouraged to arrange shift so as to allow fair rotation among
grant of paid time-off to employees instead of being paid for extra work. If
the worker has not been granted paid time-off, his employer will be required to
pay any remuneration due for extra work.
withholding of 15 annual leave by the employer during an 18-month period, that
is, from 1 June 2020 to 21 November 2021. For those who have worked during the confinement
period, they will continue to benefit from the 20 days annual leave for the
period Jan 2020 to December 2020.
refund of financial assistance provided by Government. Companies will have to
refund the assistance granted to them in case of unfair termination of
unemployment for economic reason and will be required to pay severance
allowance equal to three months of remuneration per year of service
COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill also paves the way for more employers
to work from home, as has been the shift since the beginning of confinement
across the world. The Minister explained that the conditions of employment for homeworkers will
not be less favourable than their current ones. In addition, the scope of
flexitime is being widened to assist in accommodating the workplace with a view
to avoid overcrowding and enable physical distancing.
Minister also made an appeal to all the workers to understand the rationale
behind the amendments being proposed. “I am confident that their sacrifices in
these exceptional circumstances will no doubt help us gather as a nation to
save jobs and to successfully overcome this crisis,” he stated.
Government Information Service, Prime
Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius.
Email: firstname.lastname@example.org Website: http://gis.govmu.org Mobile App: Search Gov