The amendments brought to the Workers' Rights Act and the Employment Relations Act under the COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions) Bill will be temporary and will not be applicable after the crisis and once the country's economy is back on track, stressed the Minister of Labour, Human Resource Development and Training, Mr Soodesh Callichurn.
He was elaborating on the measures that have been taken to protect the rights of workers and simultaneously support enterprises, last evening, in a televised programme by the Mauritius Broadcasting Corporation.
The Minister pointed out that these changes have been made under the impact of the COVID-19 crisis on the local and global economy. He reiterated that Government has always been engaged in protecting the rights of workers and will continue to do so. Furthermore, he underlined that Mauritius is among some of the countries that have been able to contain the spread of the virus.
The Minister recalled that Government has implemented several measures including the introduction of the National Minimum Salary Wage with a view to ensuring the welfare of workers. He elaborated that the COVID-19 (Miscellaneous Provisions)Bill which makes provision for more workers to Work from Home and expands the scope for flexi-time. He added that these measures will enable workers to better organise themselves and reconcile both their family and work life.
Speaking about the amendments made to five provisions, he stated that the aim is to protect worker's rights, support enterprises and help the country get back on track. They are: temporary suspension of Night shift allowance; employees entitled paid-time off rather than paid for extra work; an employer may take 15 annual leaves for an 18-month period, from 1 June 2020 to 21 November 2021, excluding frontliners who will be granted their usual annual leaves; delay in payment of contribution of Portable Gratuity Fund; and companies to refund the assistance granted to them in case of unfair termination of unemployment for economic reason and to pay penalty equal to three months of remuneration per year of service.
Mr Callichurn called on workers to contact the Ministry for further clarifications and to seek assistance in case of any queries.
Latest figures of COVID-19 situation in Mauritius
o There are no active cases in the country
o As at now, a total of 24 966 PCR tests and 61 921 Rapid Antigen Tests have been conducted
o 149 passengers are under quarantine