THE WORKERS’ RIGHTS ACT
(No. 20 of 2019)
The object of this Act is to repeal the Employment Rights Act and replace it by a modern and comprehensive legislative framework with a view to addressing the shortcomings of the present legislation and to provide the emerging forms of work in the industrial revolution so as to promote decent work and sustainable development.
2. The Act, inter alia –
(a) protects workers against discrimination by expanding the definition of “discrimination” to include impairment and different treatment where a worker performing the same or similar work is employed by a subsidiary company or a parent company;
(b) protects workers against precarious employment by –
(i) restricting a fixed term contract to a work of a temporary
(ii) considering the length of service of a worker on a fixed term contract as being continuous employment where the contract is renewed and where there is no break of 28 days between 2 fixed term contracts;
(c) gives a person who performs atypical work, such as online platform work, the status of a worker;
(d) provides for a compromise agreement to be vetted by a worker’s legal representative, trade union or representative of the Ministry responsible for the subject of labour and employment relations so as to protect workers where they are compelled to sign an agreement to their detriment;
(e) reconciles work with family by providing more flexible work arrangements, such as flexitime;
(f) provides for a recourse to a protective order to safeguard workers’remuneration and for an advance payment from a Wage Guarantee Fund Account where an employer fails to pay remuneration a worker;
(g) extends maternity benefits to a mother who adopts a child of up to 12 months old;
(h) harmonises core conditions of employment and provides for new benefits such as bank of sick leave, Juror’s leave and other special leaves;
(i) protects workers’ jobs by the setting up of a Redundancy Board;
(j) guarantees workers a gratuity on retirement which will take into account their full length of service irrespective of the number of employers with whom they have been working; and
(k) widens the scope of protection to workers against violence by making an employer vicariously responsible, in certain circumstances, for the act committed by a co-worker or any other person on a worker.
Status – Published in the Gazette on 23 August 2019. Will come into operation on a date to be fixed by Proclamation.