Termination of employment under the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651)

Termination of employment under the Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651)

Termination as defined is an act of making a person leaves a job or the act of ending an employment relationship with a worker without just cause, someone from his or her work.

Under section 14 of Act 651, the Law provides for non-restrictive condition of employment.

The Sections provides that employers should not discriminate against any worker in employment based on their race, religion, national origin, gender, sexual orientation, disability, medical condition, pregnancy since loss of employment makes negative influence on a person’s economic and social status.

The Industrial Relations, Act (Act299) of 1965 had no clear provisions on stated grounds for which a worker’s appointment can be terminated; therefore during that regime an employer can terminate a worker’s employment if the employer wanted.

However, following the passage of the Labour Act, 2003 (Act651), the Law has provided for grounds for which an employer can disperse with the services of a worker; and these stated grounds must be  “Fair” else the termination will be unfair if an employer fails to prove that reasons that the reasons for the termination were fair.

This provision in the Law is to protect the sanctity of employment contracts and to ensure that these are fair treatment of labour because today’s employment relationship must be bonded on the respect for the rights of the parties in the relationship.

This is not to say that an employer must provide a worker “work for life,” It is to ensure that the worker is not treated like a commodity which can be used and discarded at will.

To also ensure that workers also provide the service’s for which they have been employed, workers are also enjoined to work conscientiously in their lawfully chosen employment.

The employers are enjoined under the Labour Law to provide notice in case of termination.  The Labour Act, 2003 (Act 651)  provide under section 17 clause (1) that a contract of employment may be terminated at anytime by either party giving to the other party’s

(a) “In the case of a contract of three or more, one month notice or one months’ pay in lieu of notice

(d)  In the case of a contract of less than three years, two weeks’ notice or two weeks’ pay in lieu of notice

(c) In the case of contract from week to week, seven days’ notice.”

These provisions in the Law underscored the fact that an employer cannot terminate a worker’s contract without “just cause”.

The formulators of the Law were guided by good worker- management relations so that neither the workman nor the employer will take for granted this important relationship of worker- manager relations. This places an obligation on the employer to establish effective and implementable policies in the spirit of the labour law to make the employ- mentorship that of “partnership” and not “servitude’’.

For termination to be fair section 62 of the Labour Act, provides grounds for fair termination as follows (1) that the worker is incompetent or lacks the relevant qualification in relation to the work for which the worker is employed;

(2) The proven misconduct of the worker.

(3) Redundancy under section 65.

(4) Due to legal restriction imposed on the worker prohibiting the worker from performing the work for which he or she is employed

It is incumbent upon an employer to keep proper records on each individual worker from performance training development and capacity building to misconduct among others.

Employers must also establish proper workplace policies that will be applied or used in worker management.

In cases of unionized environments, all these roles and regulations including workplace policies must be properly negotiated in the spirit of the Laws to make the employment meaningful.