Practice Area Articles
By Karen Fulton and Bulela Mungeka
Back to International Employment Law
KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2021
Measures to contain the COVID-19 virus
Decree No. 110/2020, of 18 December 2020 (the "Decree"), sets forth measures to contain the spreading of the COVID-19 virus while the Public State of Calamity is in force. Among other general prevention measures, the Decree sets forth the following: (a) use of masks and/or visors; (b) frequent hand washing with soap and water or ash; (c) interpersonal distance, minimum one and one-half metre; (d) cough etiquette; and (e) non-sharing of items of personal use. The Decree also sets forth that individuals aged 65 and above, who are carriers of high risk diseases and pregnant women have priority regarding their release from the performance of on-site work while the Public State of Calamity is in force. In addition, the following measures apply: (a) body temperature to be measured before the start of the working period; (b) disinfection of facilities and equipment with recommend products; (c) ventilation of facilities; and (d) reduced capacity at meetings and places of agglomeration; in these cases, interpersonal distance of at least two metres should be guaranteed; and (e) people with fever or flu symptoms should not show up at the workplace.
Suspension of employment contracts for economic reasons
The Labour Law, enacted by Law No. 23/2007, of 1 August 2007, allows employers to suspend employment contracts for economic reasons, market and/or technological reasons, disasters, and other events that affect or may foreseeably come to affect the normal business of the company. During the first three months of the suspension period, the employees are entitled to a percentage of their respective remunerations which may not be lower than the applicable national minimum wage as follows: (i) first month of suspension 75% of the remuneration; (ii) second month of suspension 50% of the remuneration; and (iii) third month of suspension 25% of the remuneration. Should the reasons for suspension of employment contracts remain after this three-month period, the payment of the remuneration of the affected employees will be suspended and parties may agree to terminate the employment contract, in which case employees are entitled to the compensation set forth in the law. This is a measure that companies may resort to and is expected to continue in Mozambique this year.
Supreme Court's decision disciplinary procedure information and consultation duties
Article 67 (2) of the Labour Law sets forth the duty of the employer informing or consulting the company's Trade Union Committee or Union Delegate (depending on the type of company) regarding several phases of the disciplinary procedure. The Labour Law also sets forth that non-compliance with said information and consultation duties entails the invalidity of the disciplinary procedure. For several years the courts labour courts and Maputo's High Court of Appeal were practically unanimous in considering that, in the absence of a company's Trade Union Committee or Union Delegate, those information and consultation duties should be fulfilled before the Employees Committee or the Trade Union of the employer's sector of activity. This understanding became local practice. However, the Supreme Court has issued a decision that contradicts said courts' understanding and the local practice. Indeed, the Supreme Court has taken the view that, in the absence of a Trade Union Committee, Union Delegate or Employees Committee, the employer does not need to comply with information and consultation duties before the Trade Union of its sector of activity and thus that the disciplinary procedure is not invalid.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2020
Preventive labour measures to contain the COVID-19 outbreak during the State of Emergency
Through Decree No. 36/2020 of 2 June 2020 (the "Decree"), the Council of Ministers has approved a set of measures to be adopted by public and private institutions working during the State of Emergency due to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak. These measures include social distancing between employees, mandatory frequent hand washing and disinfection of common areas. The Decree also reduces the number of employees physically present at the workplace to at least 1/3rd of the total number of employees, and requires a mandatory rotation of these employees every 15 days. To help safeguard employment, the Decree also expressly prohibits the termination of employment based on the absence of employees from their workplace due to preventive measures relating to the COVID-19 pandemic outbreak.
KEY DEVELOPMENTS FOR 2019
New legislation regarding private employment agencies
The Government of Mozambique approved a new Decree No. 16/2018, of 23 April 2018, establishing the rules and procedures for the licensing of Private Employment Agencies.
New legislation regarding the mandatory social security regime
The Government of Mozambique approved Decree nº 51/2017, of 9 October 2017, which came into force in January 2018, which implements the Law No. 4/2007, of 7 February 2007. This new regulation establishes the new mandatory social security regime for employees and self-employed contractors.