The Employment Act 2007, has been amended to:
- Make provisions for the rights that follow adopting employees; and
- Alter the recruitment process used by employers.
The Changes introduced include;
1. RIGHT TO PRE-ADOPTIVE LEAVE
Section 29A (1) entitles an employee who adopts a child to one month’s pre-adoptive leave with full pay from the date of the placement of the child. The section does not distinguish on the gender of the employee and as such it follows that both men and women are entitled to the one-month pre-adoptive leave.
- The Notice Period to be issued to the Employer
An employee so entitled to the pre-adoptive leave is required to issue a notice in writing to the employer of the intention of the adoption society to place a child in his/her custody. The notice period should be of at least 14 days from the placement of the child.
- Submission of relevant documentation together with the notice
An employee, in serving the notice to his or her employer, is required to submit it together with certain key documentation to serve as proof of the intent and approval of adoption. These documents include:
- A custody agreement between the employee and the Adoption society; and
- An Exit Certificate – A written authority given by a registered adoption society to a prospective adoptive parent to take the child from the custody of the adoptive Society.
- Extension of the leave period and forfeiture of annual leave
An employee on pre-adoptive leave can agree with the employer to extend the pre-adoptive leave period beyond the statutory one-month period. Another way of extending the pre-adoptive leave is through the forfeiture and/or utilization of annual leave.
- Resumption of work
Upon the lapse of the pre-adoptive leave, the Act entitles the employee to return to work under similar terms and conditions enjoyed by employees who proceed on maternity leave including the right to return to their position prior to the leave
2. RECRUITMENT OF EMPLOYEES
Section 9 of the Employment Act has been amended to include provisions with respect to the recruitment of employees.
- No requirement to provide clearance certificates during the recruitment
Employers are now restrained from requiring prospective employees to provide any clearance certificates, which require payment to be made before issuance unless the employer issues the employee with an offer of employment.
The Act prescribes that once an employer issues the employee with an offer of employment, the employer may require the employee to avail of various clearance certificates in accordance with Chapter 6 of the Constitution, which provides for leadership and integrity.
- Employer’s right to rescind the employment contract
The Act permits an employer to withdraw the offer of employment if, after providing the clearance certificates, the employee does not satisfy the requirements of employment required by the employer.
What do these amendments mean for you?
- Employers have to review their working models, and culture and begin taking steps that will allow them to create sound policy frameworks that speak to the ideals and intentions of the amendments. They also have to ensure that they implement the mandates in the amended laws or risk lawsuits from dissatisfied employees.
- Employees, on the other hand, are greatly protected by the amendments. Nevertheless, they have to adhere to the notice periods provided in the Act and the policies put in place by employers in view of these amendments.