By Jariatu S Bangura
Members of Parliament have enacted the Employment Act 2023 with some amendments after thorough scrutiny by the Legislative Committee and the Committee of the whole House.
The Act seeks to consolidate and improve the law relating to labour and employment, to provide for the promotion of equal opportunity and elimination of discrimination in employment and occupation and to provide for other related matters.
The new law repeals and consolidates labour employment laws like Section 116 (1), Chapter 212 which deals with the Employer and the Employee’s Act 1962, Chapter 213 -the Registration of the Employee’s Act, 1947, Cap 214 -the African Laborer’s Employment Act 1937, Cap 215- the Provision of Force Labour, Cap 216- the Recruitment of Workers Act 1941.
It also seeks to repeal Cap 217 –the Job Regulations, Cap 218- the Machinery (Safe Work and Inspections) Rules, Cap 219 -the Work’s man Compensation, Cap 220 –the Wages Board and Cap 221-the Trade Union, Cap 222 and deals with trade disputes and 223-the arbitration and inquiry all of the Industrial Relation (Amended ) Act 1974.
At the committee stage, some MPs suggested that volunteers be given stipends not less than the minimum wage because there are some volunteers that work harder than permanent staff.
They observed that some volunteers are being paid way above the minimum wage but once the law comes into effect, they will no longer be paid with such as employers will now pay them the exact amount or even below the minimum wage.