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Saturday, November 8, 2008

HRCM calls on employers to comply with Employment Act

The Human Rights Commission of the Maldives (HRCM) has called on all employers, including tourist resorts, to afford their employees the full enjoyment of their rights under the Employment Act 2008. In a statement issued on Sunday HRCM expressed that the necessary support and cooperation is got been afforded to enjoyment of human rights under Employment Act 2008 by concerned parties. The statement said that resort managements have told employees that they were not aware of the Employment Act which protects the rights of the workers and that it is not clear which government authority takes the responsibility for ensuring the rights of the workers. The HRCM statement expressed that while a law has been passed on the protection of the rights of the workers, it is incumbent on every element of the society to fully observe the law, including government authorities, private entities, as well as specific individuals. The statement also noted that it is the responsibility of the employers to ensure that their employees get the full enjoyment of human rights under 2008 Employment Act. The commission has called for a responsible monitoring system to monitor that resort management fully abides the Employment Act 2008 with any exceptions. President of Tourism Employees Association of Maldives (TEAM) Ahmed Easa speaking to Miadhu Daily expressed that most of the resort do not abide by the Employment Act although some resorts have begun following the law effective from 1 November 2008. He revealed that different resorts have different interpretation of the law. He said this is reflected in the break times, duty hours, and overtime provided. “The law is being acted up differently in different resorts; some resorts do not recognize food breaks as duty hours, some resorts consider food breaks as break time and exclude it from 9 hours duty time” Easa said. TEAM expressed that while the tourism industry is the country’s main economic lifeline, adequate attention is not given by the government and industry stakeholders to solve the matter. TEAM further expressed that issuing press statements and announcements cannot be considered as a solution and that if the law cannot be enforced there is no point in having a law. While some resorts workers have completed their protests and demonstrations to obtain their rights other resort workers have are getting ready to stage their protests. Labor Relations Authority on the 2 of this month has urged all industry stakeholders to fully comply with Maldives Employment Act. The first amendment to Maldives Employment Act was passed by the People’s Majlis on 30 October 2008.