By Eunice Hilda Ampomah/Esther Yayra Elewokor, GNA
Accra, Feb.9, GNA – The Ghana Federation of Disability Organisations (GFD) on Tuesday held a stakeholder engagement to deliberate on provisions in the Labour Act that are unfavourable to its members and workers in general.
The engagement was to enable members and stakeholders to collectively outline the provisions for consideration in the ongoing review of the Labour Act.
Members of the GFD are from the Ghana Blind Union, Ghana National Association of the Deaf, Ghana Society of the Physically Disabled, Ghana Association of Persons with Albinism, Mental Health Society of Ghana, and Inclusion Ghana (A group of Persons with Intellectual Disability).
Mr Samuel Agbenyega, Senior Industrial Relations Officer, National Labour Commission (NLC), said employers had the right to terminate appointments when workers violated or went contrary to the provisions of a contract, hence advised people to read and understand the terms of contracts well before signing them.
However, he said many employees abused the conditions for termination of appointments in the Labour Act by acting with emotions and without proper documentations, a conduct that he said, was wrong.
Mr Agbenyega said employers were not supposed to engage casual workers for more than six months without employing them.
“After six months, they are supposed to give them the same treatment they give to permanent workers,” he added.
Mr Alexander Bankole Williams, Chairman of the National Advocacy Committee, GFD, said the provision in the Labour Act, Section 46, which stated that special incentives should be given to Persons with Disability (PWDs) and to business organisations that employed persons with disability should be given strong legal backing to make it more instrumental.
The Section 53, on the other hand, which calls on employers to train and retrain employees, he said, was not compelling enough to encourage the employers to implement those measures, hence called for more mechanisms to enforce it.
Members of the Federation called on government to ensure that the NLC had a unit to handle PWDs and their employment issues, and ensure that the composition of the NLC had a PWD on its leadership team.
According to Section 49 of the Labour Act: “Persons with disability who enter the public service shall be appointed on the same terms as persons without disability, irrespective of whether they are allowed to work for fewer hours; and shall be classified in accordance with their previous period of qualifying service for the purposes of promotion and other public service awards”.
Members, therefore, appealed that the new Labour Act considered PWDs by giving them exceptions in the conditions of service, especially when they had challenging issues on health.
With the maternity leave, at stated in Section 57 of the Act, the members requested that special considerations be given to mothers of children with disability to enable them to spend fewer hours at work or if possible, work from home to enable them give their children significant attention.