A critical assessment of the employment law relating to redundancy in Zambia
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The relationship between the employee and employer falls under the ambit of contractual Law. However, this relationship is also guided by a number of statutes and other common law principles. It is important to note that the contract of employment is terminated in several ways such as resignation, death, mutual consent and indeed redundancy. In Zambia, the concept of redundancy is provided for in section 26(B) of the Employment Act Chapter 268 of the Laws of Zambia and the two statutory Instruments No.l and 2 of 2011. Through various precedents, the Supreme Court of Zambia has also added another important limb to this definition. The objective of the study was to access and analyze whether employees in Zambia have adequate legal provision and recourse in Zambia. The study endeavored to investigate the weaknesses inherent in the existing legal provisions and in order to achieve this it became imperative to similarly examine the relevant case law. The methodology used involved analyzing section 26(B) of the Employment Act and the two statutory No. 1 and No.2of2011. This is entailed undertaking a critical analysis and review of a plethora of case law in order to determine whether employees in Zambia have adequate legal protection under redundancy. It has been observed from this study that these laws are discriminatory in nature and narrow in application. This is going by the fact that Section 26(B) which was meant to cater for all employees was placed under Part Four of the Employment Act, this section that only applies to )ral contracts. Invariably, this means that employees with written contracts have no legal irotection under the Employment Act because this is the only section in the Employment Act hat provides for redundancy. On the hand the two relevant statutory instruments No.l and 2 of VI 2011 are not adequate because they only provide for a specific group of employees. Thus, this position has left employees with written contracts who form the majority of the workforce in the country without any legal protection when it comes to redundancy. Presently, they have to rely on the terms in their contracts of employment and collective agreements. However, it is important to note that in most cases the contracts of employment and collective agreements do not always provide lor redundancy. In any case employees find themselves in weak bargaining positions such that redundancy is never envisaged in most employment contracts. In view of the foregoing the author has observed that there is urgent need to review or enact laws that will adequately cover for employees with written contracts. Other notable recommendations made by the author Jnclude the need for the Minister to issue a statutory instrument to put in place a concise mechanism for calculation of redundancy packages. Addressing these ; -commendations would enhance legal protection and certainly provide adequate recourse M employees with written contracts and those not covered by statutory instruments.
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