Query: We are tired of going to work very early even on Sundays and only knocking off very late. We work very long hours, about 12 hours with no rest, from Monday to Monday, and we are not even registered with the Social Security Commission (SSC).
Response: The basic conditions of employment as outlined in the Labour Act (Act 11 of 2007) are there to be observed as a law and principles for both employers and employees. If an employer makes his/her employees to work Monday to Monday such as alleged in this instance, an approval of continuous shifts should be obtained from the Minister responsible for labour and each shift may not be longer than nine (9) hours. The employer should first obtain an agreement from the recognised trade union or the affected employees and the declaration from the Minister before allowing his/her employees to perform overtime.
The Labour Act makes a provision for an employee to work for not more than nine hours a day if the employee works for five or fewer days in a week or eight hours a day if the employee works for five days in a week, which is equivalent to not more than forty five hours per week.
An employee is entitled to overtime pay for work performed on Sundays or public holidays or in excess of the normal working hours. The Labour Act further makes provision for additional remuneration of six percent (night allowance) of that employee’s hourly basic wage (excluding overtime) for each night hour worked between 20h00 and 07h00.
The employees who are working for five hours continuously have a right to a meal interval of at not more than one hour and not less than 30 minutes. However, an employer may shorten the meal interval to not less than 30 minutes, provided that all affected employees have agreed and that the employer has submitted a written of such a notice to the Permanent Secretary.
The law further requires all employers to register their employees with Social Security Commission. Ms.
* Maria Hedimbi, chief public relations officer in the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, E-mail: firstname.lastname@example.org