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Covid-19: Government’s mission is to maintain each Mauritian in employment, asserts Labour Minister

Date: May 14, 2020
Domain:Employment/Labour; Health
Persona: Business; Citizen; Government; Non-Citizen

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 pandemic.


The 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.


Mauritius 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.


The main amendments purport to:

·          The 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


·     The 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 workers


·          The 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.


·          The 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.


·           The 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


The 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.


The 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. 


#ResOuLakaz     #BeSafeMoris

Government Information Service, Prime Minister’s Office, Level 6, New Government Centre, Port Louis, Mauritius. Email:  Website:  Mobile App: Search Gov​​​

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