Zimbambwe: Gov’t issues new labor regulations

Zimbambwe Gov’t issues new labor regulationsPresident Robert Mugabe’s government last week published a bill seeking to amend the labor law to force employers to pay severance packages to workers fired after a court ruling and set tougher conditions for future dismissals.

Under the proposed amendments, employers can dismiss a worker on three months’ notice only if there is agreement with the employee or if the worker is on a fixed-term contract. Otherwise they are obliged to pay retrenchment packages of at least two weeks’ salary for every year served.

Parliament, which was in recess until the end of this month, has been recalled to debate the bill on Tuesday.

Busisa Moyo, president of the Confederation of Zimbabwe Industries, said most businesses were unable to afford retrenchment packages.

“These regulations shall have retrospective effect from 17 July 2015,” reads the government notice.

The government also published the Labor Amendment Bill which compels employers who have terminated employment following the Supreme Court’s July 17 ruling to follow the proposed laid down retrenchment procedures retrospectively.

Zimbabwe lost 20,000 jobs in the past month after a court ruled that companies could fire workers by giving them three months’ notice, the main labor union said on Sunday, as the government moved to amend the country’s labor laws to stop further losses.

Businesses in Zimbabwe, which has an unemployment rate of more than 80%, are struggling with electricity shortages, high finance and labor costs and cheap imports. Many firms fail to pay wages or are forced to shut.