Friday, April 12, 2024

Government defends New Labour Act after Stakeholders say the Act will Choke Employers


Labour Commissioner Givens Muntengwa says the process that needs to be undertaken before the law is enacted was exhausted before coming up with the Employment Code Act.

Mr. Muntengwa says the process allowed all stakeholders to give their input and took into consideration the views of all stakeholders.

He said it is therefore mischievous for some stakeholders including the Zambia Federation of Employers to try and tilt public opinion on the Employment Code Act.

Mr. Muntengwa has challenged the Zambia Federation of Employers, Professor Oliver Saasa, and others criticizing the new law to point out sections in the Act where exemptions can be exercised by the Minister and those impacting negatively on the employers.

He said the Act has a provision where stakeholders can engage the Minister and iron out their grievances so long the process is followed.

Mr. Muntengwa said the Act has other aspects that are beneficial to the employers.

He said calls to completely defer the Employment Code Act are therefore not tenable because there will be no law to regulate the employment contracts.

He said issuing blanket statements, especially that most of the stakeholders sit in the tripartite is unfair and has advised critics to engage him instead of rushing to the media.

However, Professor Oliver Saasa has insisted that the law should be suspended because it is choking employers.

The new Act to regulate the employment of persons, prohibit discrimination at an undertaking, constitute the Skills and Labour Advisory Committees, and provide for their functions came into force in Zambia on Wednesday 13 May 2020.

The controversial Employment Code Act number 3 of 2019 which stakeholders want to be suspended provide for the engagement of persons on contracts of employment, the form and enforcement of the contracts of employment, employment entitlements, and other benefits, protection of wages of employees, and the registration of employment agencies.

The Act further regulates the employment of children and young persons, provide for the welfare of employees at an undertaking, employment policies, procedures, and codes in an undertaking, repeal and replace the Employment Act, 1965, the Employment Act 1966, the Employment of Young Persons and Children Act 1933 and the Minimum Wages and Conditions of Employment Act, 1982 among others


  1. The Employment Act must stay. The Kwacha has depreciated massively. Their is a need to stem abuse of employees from shoddy firms that originate from countries with poor human rights cultures. Yes copper prices are down but they won’t be down forever. When they rebound are going to change the Employment Act again?

  2. Remember when we brought unionists in government? Fredrick Chiluba, Newstead Zimba & Chitalu Sampa. They wanted to run the govt like ZCTU and we all know what they did. The same is with this Joyce Nonde. She thinks govt is a Union. NOOOOO!!! madam you have to be real. You are being retrogresive to the economy. You are simply setting the platform for strikes and industrial unrest.

  3. Dear Joyce, your economy has capacity to deliver this act you are pushing. You yourself as govt is the biggest culprit. You cannot pay civil servants on time. Councli workers go on for months without pay. Have you ever wondered why? Work on the basics first. Create a platform for industrial development where employment will be created . Taxes will be paid and then you will have a budget to pay civil servants and council workers. Then you can implement your viral act. As at now you will just be throwing more people out on the street.

  4. THIS IS POLITICAL SUICIDE FOR PF! Thinking they are pleasing workers. Wait until u fail to deliver on this act and create despondency among workers.

  5. The Act is just fine .. however in the period we are may be some of the closes can be suspended to allow for smooth running of the economy. Don’t listen to those people with vested interests who want the Act to be changed..just suspended some closes period.

  6. The Act is just fine and it should be released and rolled out as is. Time for employers to take advantage of Zambians is long gone. This is not Diasporas who are abused by their white masters like slaves.

    But at the same time I hope it doesn’t extend to political employment because we don’t want the perpetual loser to start suing the PF government for denying him employment kiki. My maids and garden boys get paid much better and have better employment conditions that thise working for foreign entities or those Diaspora demons.

    Any Diaspora who wants to come and work for me as a maid or chila boy, please contact me. Yes I’m rich and can afford to pay a few of you. Kz

  7. I no longer believe in any other Government official apart from Attorney General when it comes to commenting on these laws. You characters have misled us enough. Same Commissioner misled us on retirement age and now he doesn’t want to apologise

  8. Dont you think the timing is bad? Employment at the moment is at an all time low. All businesses are struggling from small to the big ones. Dollar is high? Load shedding is back. Some businesses are closed due to covid. No new investors are coming in. At a time like this, you want to impose this act. Once you create a good environment for businesses and the economy is thriving and you see investors are flocking in the country, that is when you can dictate. Right now there is nothing to show and all you are doing is choking up the remaining already struggling businesses.

  9. They have failed to create jobs and have now started destroying the few jobs remaining,if there was a way it would be better for PF just to go on “leave”and let others even just technocrats be in charge till next elections otherwise there will be nothing to take over in August 2021

  10. It’s time to retire PF in National interest! This Act, though well intended for the employee, is disadvantaging the employer in the current declining Economy. Labour Laws must be dynamic and not too rigid or we risk destroying the few jobs left.

  11. It makes sense to enact it at this time as planned to prevent Capitalist employers terminating employment unfairly to protect their profits.

    That’s why they are being mischievous, wriggling around like the greedy worms they are.

  12. Whichever investor was even thinking of coming to open up investments in this country will now think twice and go to our neighbour’s who are more labor friendly. There goes our source of foreign exchange.

  13. As Zambians we are all for the creation and protection of jobs. Except we don’t seem to agree on the mode of doing that, most probably because of our inclinations. I for one believe that the only way you can create and protect jobs is by making businesses sustainable. We need to enable businesses to become as profitable as they can and then unions through their respective collective bargaining processes can demand a fair share of the profits on behalf of employees. Forget whether the employer is capitalist or socialist; foreigner or national; black or white. The line is that the demand for labour is a derived demand, meaning no rational employer employs just for the sake of employing. If the cost of labour become too high, employers will consider switching to other alternatives…

  14. I see ,so when are you going to pay me my money since you want to pay those in diaspora iwe KZ. I want my money.

  15. Choomba IAM not sure which Commissioner misled you on retirement age because the guidelines I issued are on all fours with the Learned Attorney General’s legal opinion. May be you don’t have the correct copy. Regards

  16. Chambers of commerce in Zambia ought to modernize and start employing data-savvy technocrats who can win an argument with evidence. I hv seen this in Chicago. Without that, they will be bulldozed. Who has created the high interest rate and high domestic debt arrears environment which is choking business?

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