Employment sector especially informal labour sector has been affected by the consequences of the global pandemic Covid-19 since it started to be spread widely and faster where most of the businesses fell into financial crisis.
The problem has also been serious and affected some Rwandans who were employed by private sector as some of them were illegally sacked or dismissed without legal provisions and final salary dues.
Mahoro, not his real name is a journalist who was working with online media companies in Kigali as a permanent staff and was laid-off by his employer due to financial crisis the company faced.
He said he was laid-off on March 20th, 2020 with some of his colleagues when many of private companies that were the stakeholders (clients) of the company closed partnerships with the company because of COVID-19 effects.
“Many of the companies which stopped partnerships with my employer are private ones and occupy 15% of incomes while public institutions have 85% of incomes of the company and these ones continued advertising with my employer. It could not be the reason to lay us -off, instead they could have helped us by continue paying us within the income from public institutions.”
The labour law states that, any company can dismiss current employment agreement with its workers within the period less than 3 months.
“So, we are waiting for our employer’s call to resume work because the lock-down was eased. We were dismissed for a one-month period which is subject to being increased. Contrary to this we can raise our request for final employment provisions given to sacked workers,” Said Nganji another employee of a daily newspaper in Rwanda who was dismissed last month.
He told our journalist that the reason to be dismissed was not the outbreak but the economy of the paper that had already started to go down.
Need for legal procedures
Nganji said that a solution may come from an assessment of criminal cases among the businesses. Then further measures including paying final employment dues to dismissed staff can be respected.
On the side of Employers, Emmanuel Karasira, Managing Director of a local made in Rwanda textile factory told The Express News that they dismissed some workers because some of the products they used to manufacture for export have not clients because flights journeys were banned along with COVID-19 prevention measures.
“After the outbreak, we hopefully expect to tackle all the problems in relationship with COVID-19 including the one of our staff who lost their works.” Karasira said.
What are the legal provisions in such cases?
In the interview with Jean Paul Ibambe, a lawyer, he elaborated the legal provisions on dismissal or final laying-off of employees. He said that the law N° 66/2018 of 30/08/2018 on labour in Rwanda states the rights and different responsibilities in case of illegally dismissing of employment agreement /contract.
“an example is illegal dismissal of contract where the employee deserves recovery dues. These dues cannot be less than the amount of employee’s three-month salaries and cannot exceed his six-month salaries,” Ibambe noted.
He said that some urgent reasons for work dismissal that can be exist in Rwanda are explained in the new labour law, especially what is called “Force majeure”: when the company or its activities are closed following legal provisions, when an employee is dismissed (8 non-paid days) as a punishment at work, when a worker was given 6 months of imprisonment, when a company temporarily closes its activities due to technical or financial reasons, and when a worker is dismissed following labour investigation up on him/her.
If some workers were illegally dismissed ,He advises whoever has experienced such a case to refer to the labor inspection in his/her district before appealing to the court for final salary dues and recovery money.
By the time The Express News requested further information from the Ministry in charge of Labor in Rwanda relating the case being reported about, we were requested to send questions via email address but we waited their feedback in vein.
The Express News