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DO NOT FORCE EMPLOYEES TO WORK ON HOLIDAYS - LABOUR MINISTRY

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MBABANE - Employers have been reminded not to force workers to work on public holidays.

The Ministry of Labour and Social Security said working on public holidays should be subject to consultations and agreements between the employers and the workers. In a press statement, the ministry reminded employers to align their internal policies with the national legislation and the Regulations of Wages Orders, on the aspect that working on a public holiday should not be forced on workers.

This reminder comes as a result of numerous complaints received by the ministry that some employers continue with their old dispensation of ‘not recognising’ some of the lawfully designated public holidays, and, therefore, forcing workers to come to work on certain public holidays without compensating them at the appropriate rate of pay for work done on public holidays.

Statement

The ministry recalled on a press statement released on August 14, 2023, when publishing the Regulations of Wages Orders for 2023 in terms of Section 6(1) of the Wages Act, No. 16 of 1964. According to the ministry, they noted that one of the major changes that were effected in the Regulations of Wages Orders is the removal of the table of public holidays that were said to be either ‘recognised or not recognised’ by some of the sectors/industries, something which had been ongoing for quite some time.

‘‘The table of the so-called ‘recognised public holidays’ was removed on the basis of legal advice to the effect that it is not within the purview of the Wages Councils to pick and choose from among the lawfully designated public holidays, on which one to recognise or not recognise since the declaration of public holidays is done through a distinct legislation, the Public Holidays Act No.71 of 1938, by the Ministry of Home Affairs,” the ministry said.
Furthermore, it was stated that once a public holiday was declared, it was then not given to anyone else to say they did not recognise a particular public holiday, since doing so would be against the law.

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