The recent Daily Graphic story detailing how many in the informal job market work but starve certainly didn’t surprise many Ghanaians. However difficult the situation, there ought not be any justification for paying a worker ¢150.00 a month. It is unlawful to pay anything less than the minimum wage, and organized labour especially ought to do a lot more to ensure workers, however described, earn a decent living. The State must do even more as this clearly is a security threat. 

But the majority of workers getting cheated by employers are those expediently labeled as casual and temporary workers. Some protection has been provided for these classes of workers in Ghana’s Labor Act 2003, and there is a need to ensure compliance with the law.

First, it is against the law to categorize a worker as casual when you engage them in work that they must do for a continuous period of more than six months. The work must be seasonal or intermittent in nature. The worker is entitled to their daily remuneration and must not be denied it because it rained and they were unable to carry on their normal work for the day. Again, categorizing one as a casual worker is no licence to deny them medical benefits generally enjoyed by your permanent staff.

Dear employer, please note that you are bound by law to elevate that person you have engaged as a temporary worker to a permanent staff status if he or she works for a continuous period of more than one month and is not engaged in work seasonal in nature. It is not right to wait to be told that the law compels you to give them access to medical facilities generally available to your so-called regular staff before you make them enjoy such. They are by operation of law automatically graduated to permanent staff status if you get them working for you for a continuous period of six months or more.

Stop exploiting workers, pay them well, treat them right and expect their utmost in return.

Samson Lardy ANYENINI

August 11, 2018

 

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