Rwf17 billion collected in maternity leave benefits

Statistics from Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) show that 5,430 mothers had benefited from the scheme by end December 2018.
Mothers breastfeed their babies in Huye District during a breastfeeding and anti-malnutrition campaign last year. File.

Some Rwf17.9 billion in contributions to the maternity leave benefits Scheme has been collected since the scheme came into force in November 2016.

Statistics from Rwanda Social Security Board (RSSB) show that 5,430 mothers had benefited from the scheme by end December 2018.

Of the funds, Rwf2 billion was paid out to 1,628 employers who claimed the reimbursement of salaries related to the last six weeks of the maternity leave.

Throughout their three-month (or 12 weeks) maternity leave, women get their full salary, which helps them better take care of their new-bornswithout worrying about losing 80 per cent of their salary in the last six months of their leave, Oswald Munyandekwe, Director of Pension and Pre-retirement Benefits Department at RSSB told The New Times.

Monthly contributions to the scheme total 0.6 per cent of the employee’s gross salary with both the employer and the employee contributing 0.3 per cent, each.

The contributions are made by all (male and female) employees in Rwanda and by every employer (private or public).

Munyandekwe said that, under the scheme, the employer pays all the due salary to a working mother, who has given birth, for the entire three months, after that RSSB refunds it money equivalent to the employee’s 1.5 month (or six weeks) remuneration.

The law provides that RSSB as the custodian of the maternity leave benefits insurance will cover six weeks of the paid leave starting from the seventh week while compensations for the first six weeks will be met by the employer.

“The employee mother enjoys their benefits without having to deal with RSSB, rather RSSB deals with the employer which gives a list of mothers including the salary paid to them,” Munyandekwe explained.

He said that mothers started enjoying their benefits starting from February 2017, three months after the first contributions were made.

It became effective following the announcement of a Ministerial Order of October 28, 2016 relating to maternity leave benefits scheme, and an earlier law establishing and governing maternity leave benefits scheme.

Dativa Mukaruzima, National Women Leader at Rwanda Workers Trade Union Confederation told The New Times that it is pleasing to see mothers and their babies enjoying their rights to proper care, while the mothers get their full pay throughout the maternity leave.

Before the development, she said, some mothers would return to work when their infant was still at a critical stage of growth (1.5 month old) so that they do not miss their salary, she said, adding that currently, the mother gets their full pay and takes better care of their child.