Zimbabwean Supreme Court LANDMARK ruling on GRATUITY. Recently, the Zimbabwean Supreme Court which ruled that the issue of GRATUITY is never covered by their law has created some negative ripple effect. This was a result of two employees having sued their former employers for allegedly having been UNDERPAID their well deserved Gratuity. The resultant effect has been disastrous. Employers have now taken advantage of such a ruling. All they are doing now and can do is to let employees work up to Friday afternoon or evening, when they are about to knock off, they are handed letters of separation/dismissal and told to pack their personal belongings and stay away from the offices. Staff are assured that they would be paid their leave days and 1,2,or 3 months termination notice. That”s it, NO gratuity etc. About 90,000 will be impacted and the matter is almost turning POLITICAL unless uncle Bob comes to the employees rescue.
This is not far fetched and it can happen anywhere else including Zambia. It can happen to anyone, anywhere. In fact it happens in Zambia. It happened within one of the Financial Institutions, the Insurers Companies, the Revenue Authorities, the Mines, the Parastatals, NGOs and the Private Sector.
Admitted I’m neither a Lawyer nor an HR practitioner. The issue of gratuity has been controversial in Zambia. I know Four big Financial Institutions which have been dragged to the courts of law for alleged “divide-and-rule”” type of administering the “Voluntary separation packages” and gratuity whereby some Unionised employees have been paid 3 to 4 months pay for each year served whilst Managers have been paid 2, or 2.5/3 months pay for each year served. Interesting enough, HR staff administer/and advise both Employees and Employers alike. Ex-staff are represented by Lawyers and Employers are represented by other crop of Lawyers as well. Initially both sides claim to have the right citations of the Law as the either side are paid. The case is dragged to Court before another Lawyer to interpret the same Law drafted by the Lawyers and passed in Parliament and assented to by the President who in case of (H.E. Levy Mwanawasa and Edgar Lungu) were equally Senior Lawyers and State Counsels.
What the NATION would expect from HR GURUS and Lawyers advising on HR matters is a clear interpretation of the Labour Law which talks of “Minimum 2 months pay for each year served”. I believe most of you have come across this INFAMOUS clause somewhere, somehow. When does it apply and to WHOM does it apply? Please guide. The expectation by lesser mortals from ALL HR GURUs and Labour Laws Learned people is create a forum to clearly debate, discuss, agree and share the position so that workers, employees and Managers alike including employers and Labour Officers are all and operate on the same page thereby moderately regulating reliance and great expectations from either side. My loud thoughts. Just to anticipate and avoid the “ZIMBABWEAN” Landmark ruling spilling-over across the mighty Zambezi River and Victoria falls into Zambia. Stay well and be blessed.