Most workers in Zimbabwe are on fixed term contracts. According to labour law, fixed term contracts expire at the end of the term specified. Employment maybe terminated by mutual agreement.
However, in some cases employees have been fixed term contract workers for 10-16 years. This is unfair labour practice as workers do not enjoy the job security and benefits that come with a permanent job in a company.
An employer is supposed to write a contract to the employee and the letter is supposed to have the following particulars:
- Name and address of the employer
- The period of time for which the employee is engaged
- The terms of probation (if any)
- The terms of an employment code
- Information of the employees remuneration, its manner of calculation and the intervals at which it will be paid
- Information on benefits receivable in the event of sickness or pregnancy
- Hours of work
- Information of any bonus or incentive production scheme
- Information of vacation leave or vacation pay
- Information of any other benefits
The law states that if a contract of employment does not specify the date of termination, other than a contract for casual work, seasonal work or for the performance of some specific service, it is deemed to be an indefinite contract. This provision is however conditional for casual workers.
Termination of Employment
According to the Code of Conduct, a contract of employment can be terminated if the employer and employee mutually agree to it in writing.
This is also the case if an employee is engaged in a fixed-term contract or for performance of a specific task and the contract has expired after the mandated period or the task is completed.
Contracts can NOT be terminated on:
- Death of the employer.
In a situation where the employer has died the contract continues to have effect until it expires.
- Contracts can also not be terminated on the grounds of race, place of origin, sex, religion, political opinion, tribe.
- Contracts can not be terminated without notice from the employer with strong reasons.
However employers CAN terminate contracts on the following grounds:
If an employee:
- Is guilty of theft or fraud
- Willfully destroys employers property
- Is absent for a period of five days or more working days without giving a reasonable excuse
- Lacks a skill that he or she implicitly said they was capable of
- Is substantially negligent in his or her duties
- Is drunk to the extent that it makes him/her fail to perform their duties
Notice periods of termination
Notice of termination of the contract of employment to be given by either party shall be:
- Three months in the case of a contract without limit of time or a contract for a period of two years or more
- Two months in the case of a contract for a period of one year or more but less than two years
- One month in the case of a contract for a period of six months or more but less than one year
- Two weeks in the case of a contract for a period of three months or more but less than six months
- One day in the case of a contract for a period of less than three months or in the case of casual work or seasonal work
There are certain procedures that have to be followed if a employer wants to retrench workers.
The law states that the employer has to notify the appropriate worker’s committee or trade union giving graphic reasons as to why he wants to retrench.
In his or her proposal for retrenchment he should include names of those who are going to be retrenched and submit financial statements.
A copy of the proposal should also be sent to the labour investigation officer for investigation to see whether retrenchment should be allowed and that all procedures of retrenchment according to labour law are followed.
However, if the labour relations officer sees the reason for retrenchment as unclear and not in terms of which retrenchment has been agreed upon, it can not be granted.
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