UGANDA TO AMEND ITS EMPLOYMENT ACT

By Brian Kalule Wednesday, November 13, 2019
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A Bill that seeks to amend the Employment Act has been gazetted. Below are some of its new features.

Sexual harassment

All employers will be required to have in place measures to prevent sexual harassment from occurring at the work place regardless of the number of employees. The Act presently imposes this requirement on employers who have 25 or more employees. 

Child employment

The age of prohibition of child employment has been raised from 14 years to 16 years.

Repatriation

An employee will have a right to be repatriated where he or she has worked for at least 5 years and was recruited for employment from a place of 50 kilometres. Under the Act, presently repatriation is only possible for employees recruited from places at a distance of 100 Kilometres.

Further, repatriation shall be calculated at a minimum compensatory rate of 7 km to one litre of fuel (Petrol) from the work town to home town plus a sum of 25 currency points as facilitation from home town to home village or domicile.

Right of breastfeeding female employees

A female employee has a right to one or more daily breaks or daily reduction of hours of work to breastfeed her child following the sixty working days of maternity leave.

The cumulative period of the daily breaks shall not exceed on hour and the breaks or the reduction of the daily hours of work shall only be granted for consecutive three months upon the return of the female employee from maternity leave.

Further, an employer shall provide female breastfeeding employees with a breastfeeding room under adequate hygienic conditions within or near the work place for purposes of breastfeeding or bottle feed or expressing milk.

Severance allowance

Severance pay shall be at the minimum the employee’s one-month gross salary at the date of termination per year worked. The employer shall pay severance allowance where an employee has been in his or her continuous service for a period of 1 year or more and the severance allowance shall be paid to the employee within twenty-one days from the date of expiry or termination of the contract of service.

However, an employee whose contract of service has been terminated due to gross misconduct forfeits his or right to severance allowance.

Volunteers

A person employed as a volunteer shall only work for five days in a week and the normal hours of work for a person employed as a volunteer shall not exceed six hours per day.  Further, a person who has been employed as a volunteer and is retained by the same employer under a contract of service shall not be subjected to the probation period. 

A volunteer shall also be entitled to a certificate of service upon completion of the volunteering period. An employer of a volunteer shall be responsible for all costs and expenses arising out of an injury or occupational disease sustained or acquired by a volunteer in the course of his employment as a volunteer.

The Bill will be discussed in Parliament and then, if accepted, passed into law.