Farirai Machivenyika Senior Reporter—
President Mugabe on Wednesday signed into law the Labour Amendment Act, following its passing in Parliament last week. Chief Secretary to the Office of the President and Cabinet confirmed the President’s assent in an extraordinary Government Gazette published on Wednesday. “The following law, which has been assented to by His Excellency the President, is published in terms of Section 131 (6) of the Constitution of Zimbabwe – Labour Amendment Act, 2015 (No.5 0f 2015),” Dr Sibanda said in the statement.
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The new law comes into force with immediate effect. The law was crafted to stem massive job cuts that followed Supreme Court Judge Justice Godfrey Chidyausiku’s ruling last month allowing companies to terminate their employees’ contracts of employment on three months notice without benefits.
The Supreme Court ruling resulted in over 25 000 employees losing their jobs. The Act under Transitional provision in Section 18 provides for compensation for workers whose contracts of employment were terminated on or after July 17. Section (4a) of the new law prohibits employers from terminating a contract of employment on notice unless termination is in terms of an employment code or model code, or the employer and employee agree in writing to the termination of the contract.
Section 12C also states that employers who wish to terminate a contract of employment of any employee or employees must give written notice of their intention to a works council or in its absence an employment council for the industry and in its absence to the Retrenchment Board. The employer will also be required to provide the works council, employment council or the Retrenchment Board as the case may be with details of every employee whom the employer wishes to retrench and of the reasons for the proposed retrenchment.
Section 12c (2) then states that; “Unless better terms are agreed between the employer and employees concerned or their representatives, a package (hereinafter called the minimum retrenchment package) of not less than one month’s salary for every two years of service as an employee (or the equivalent lesser proportion of one month’s salary or wages for a lesser period of service) shall be paid by the employer as compensation for the loss of employment no later than date when the notice of termination of employment takes effect.”
If any employer alleges incapacity to pay the minimum retrenchment package timeously or at all, they may write seeking exemption from the employment council or the Retrenchment Board.