No need to extend maternity leave – Labour Commissioner

MotherandchildMr Edward Briku-Boadu, the Chairman of the National Labour Commission (NLC), says that there is no need to extend the three months maternity leave for Ghanaian female workers.

He said the three months maternity leave currently being given to female workers was okay and that any increase might force many employers to shy away from engaging women.

“If the maternity leave is six months, even I will not employ women”, Mr Briku-Boadu told the GNA in an interview on Thursday on the fringes of a two-day seminar that opened in Accra for social partners of the Labour Commission.

The Commission organised the seminar on the theme: “Charting a Positive Attitude towards the Resolution of Industrial Disputes.”

Participants included employers, employees, organised labour and government representatives.

Participants are to discuss the dispute settlement processes, internal resolution mechanisms and the challenges that hamper their effective implementation.

Mr Briku-Boadu, who educated the participants on Dispute Settlement Procedures under the Labour Act, 2003, (Act 651) advised employees to ensure that they documented all conditions of services benefits and entitlements due them in their Collective Bargaining Agreement (CBA).

“The Collective Bargaining Agreement takes precedence over the labour law, so you should ensure that whatever entitlements you agreed on, should be captured in the CBA”.

He however, explained to employees that it was their duty to report regularly and punctually to work, to enhance productivity and also take proper care of properties like tools and equipment of their employers.

Mr Briku-Boadu said employers were also mandated under the labour law to provide better conditions of service for their workers, and not ill-treat them.

He also explained that the Labour Act and the Constitution of Ghana give every worker the right to join a trade union for their economic and social interest, and therefore no employer has the right to stop any worker from joining a union.

He said what the law says is that a worker holding managerial position or at policy-making level may not join the union, saying, “This is not mandatory and does not mean such a worker cannot join any trade union. He or she may choose to join”.

Mr Briku-Boadu also said the Commission plans to engage the Ghana Employers Association so they would train expatriates on the labour laws so they would know how to handle their workers better.

Dr Mrs Bernice Welbeck, acting Executive Secretary of the National Labour Commission said after 10 years of the Commission’s existence, pportunity is being created to discuss the functionality of the dispute settlement mechanisms and their associated implementation challenges.

She said areas like Termination, Redundancy, Collective Agreement Negotiations and Disciplinary Procedures would be discussed in light of Act 651 and the processes established for dealing with same as against disputes that have been recorded, handled and settled by the NLC in the selected areas.

She said issues of unfair job terminations and unfair treatment by employers was high among cases brought to the Commission for settlement and unfair terminations received by the NLC records 34 per cent,  disciplinary procedure is 29 per cent, and Collective Agreement Negotiation 25 per cent while redundancy issues recorded 12 per cent.

“What this means is that there may be ambiguous or non-existent processes or procedures as well as failure by parties to adhere to the requirements of the law or laid-down procedures in addressing the issues internally as a result of which high disputes continue to be recorded in these areas”.

Dr Welbeck said the seminar, which the Commission intends to hold annually, would afford participants the opportunity to evaluate the internal systems to tell their effectiveness and suggest ways to strengthen them.

Source: GNA

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