MPs representing workers have secured leave of the House to introduce amendments to the Employment Act 2006 aimed at improving the working conditions for casual labourers.
The private members bill titled “The Employment (Amendment) Bill 2019 is spearheaded by Female Workers MP Agnes Kunihira.
According to Kunihira, The Employment Act of 2006 is wanting in terms of clauses that protect breast-feeding mothers, casual labourers and migrant employees among others. The Employment Act of 2006 sets the minimum standards of employment standards including prohibition of employment of children under the age of 12 years.
Workers MP Margaret Namubiru Rwabushaija argues that while Uganda is a signatory to many international conventions relating to labour, harmonization of the labour laws in Uganda is still lacking. The MPs note that the current labour laws are absolute and do not address the challenges and requirements of the labour market and working conditions leading to numerous strikes at workplaces.
“We propose a section should be inserted that also female casual workers in the informal sector are entitled to sixty working days maternity leave instead of being laid off by majority of the employers, when they give birth,” Kunihira said.
Section 3.3 of the Employment Act 2006 provides for maternity leave for only a female employee who has a valid contract of service.
The Employment Act 2006 states that there is no permit requirement for one to recruit a domestic servant for employment. However, beyond this there is no other specific provision in the Constitution or the labour laws regarding domestic workers in Uganda.
The Workers' MPs therefore argue that inserting a clause in the bill to be amended, will protect domestic workers especially that some employers do their businesses in their homes where even those charged with inspecting to ensure workers’ safety will not find it easy there by putting employees’ lives at danger.