Employers seek changes to labour law
Employers have petitioned the government to revise some articles of the labour law, claiming that it had on several occasions led them to unduly lose money compensating employees who have been fired.
The employers voiced the concerns during a meeting organised by the Private Sector Federation in Kigali on Wednesday. They cited Article 32 of the labour law as the most severe as it gives them just 48 hours to make a decision over an employee who commits an offence.
According to them, this implies that if a major offence is committed and the employer is obliged to terminate an employee’s contract, the law considers it legal if this is done within 48 hours.
“When such an offence is committed, it requires a thorough investigation that might take at least three or four days, especially if the employee is a key figure in the business or company,” observed Aaron Turamye, the Deputy Director General of SONARWA insurance company.
He added that employees take advantage of the article, saying that there are instances where the lawful period of 48 hours elapses yet employers have not gathered sufficient evidence to pin down those who commit crimes.
The meeting also discussed the minimum wage issue with employers insisting that wages should be determined by market forces.
Speaking to The New Times shortly after the meeting, Francois Habiyakare, an independent consultant, stressed the need for the government to revise the minimum wage.
Recently, trade unions, including Labour Congress and the Brotherhood-Rwanda (COTRAF) and the Central Trade Union of Workers of Rwanda (CESTRAR) demanded that the daily minimum wage be fixed at Rwf 1,500, from the current Rwf 100 under the 1974 law due to the rising market prices.
“A new minimum wage is necessary but it should not be too high to discourage employers as they may not be in position to meet it,” said Habiyakare.
He argued that a new minimum wage would prevent employers from underpaying or exploiting workers.