Despite the well established fact that childbirth is one of the key things which curtails the progress of women when it comes to career—and somewhat deepens the gender inequality, on the back of which maternity leave is positioned to bridge the gap, Tigo Ghana has decided that the rights of its women staff would not be respected in this regard.
In consonance with International Labor Laws, Ghana’s Labor Act (Act 651) Section 57 states inter alia that;
A woman worker, on production of a medical certificate issued by a medical practitioner or a midwife indicating the expected date of her confinement, is entitled to a period of maternity leave of at least twelve weeks in addition to any period of annual leave she is entitled after her period of confinement.
(2) A woman worker on maternity leave is entitled to be paid her full remuneration and other benefits to which she is otherwise entitled.
(3) The period of maternity leave may be extended for at least two additional weeks where the confinement is abnormal or where in the course of the same confinement two or more babies are born.
(4) Where an illness, medically certified by a medical practitioner, is due to her pregnancy, the woman worker is entitled to additional leave as certified by the medical practitioner.
(5) Where an illness, medically certified by a medical practitioner, is due to her confinement the woman worker is entitled to an extension of the leave after confinement as certified by the medical practitioner.
Regardless of the above legal provision, Tigo Ghana has allegedly decided to go rogue, and play outside its labour responsibilities by cunningly violating the rights of its female staff .
The company has purportedly sent out an internal Memo today (see above), which a whistle-blower has forwarded a copy to GhanaCelebrities.Com, saying, a group of its female workers will from henceforth have no maternity rights.
That sounds insane and straight illegal even if you have no understanding of labor laws—but wait until you hear that, the same Memo adds that, “an employee who wishes to go on maternity leave will have to apply for a break (leave without pay) and reapply for their position after the maternity break.”
If you’ve not spotted the intention from the Memo, let’s mention that what Tigo Ghana is simply doing is trying to dodge its responsibility to a group of its women staff—by putting its reliance staff on a 6 months contract, clearly doing so because you would mostly need to have been employed for at least 6 months and 2 weeks to be able to qualify for maternity.
From this, it can be deducted that, you wouldn’t ever be able to score the 6 months and 2 weeks requirement to earn maternity if you are a reliance staff at Tigo, because your contract is set for 6 months subject to renewal. And reasonably, as Tigo seems to be looking to dodge maternity payments for reliance staff, they would not renew the contract for pregnant women.
Those who would ‘unfortunately’ need maternity while within their 6 months contract will have to go on maternity without pay—and then when they are done, will have to re-apply for their jobs and start another new 6 months contract, we believe.
According to the whistleblower who sent us the internal Memo from Tigo; “how contract staff are being treated [in relation to maternity], is just one of the many things that is wrong with this company.”
This is clearly illegal, absurd and a clear exploitation of women—such big companies continue to take the ordinary workers for granted, mostly through such apparent legal fudging policies.
We are highlighting this so that the many women rights advocates and organisations in Ghana can step in to compel Tigo to do what’s right—such scheming against women workers in the face of the already existing inequality should not be allowed.