The Minister of Gender, Labor and Social Development, Janat Mukwaya has promised to punish employers who deny their female employees a three months maternity leave as required by the law.
Mukwaya said some employers felt they were doing a favor to the female employees, noting that some bosses even force them to return to work before the end of three months with a threat of losing their jobs.
“A 3 months paid Maternity leave is a right for every woman and is guaranteed by law. However because of the high levels of unemployment, employees are taking this right for granted and only a few are still grating this right. We are ready to sue any employer be it government agency or private companies who do not comply with the law. Any woman who is denied this right has a right to sue and we will support them,” she said.
The minister revealed this while speaking at the social development sector review meeting which took place on Monday at Hotel Africana.
The disclosure comes amidst complaints raised by some schools that female employees always leave a big gap during the maternity leave that is hard to replace hence leaving students vulnerable.
Mukwaya explained that the concern is not for the female employee to solve, arguing that the schools or government should have a system that allows routine to proceed even after the employee goes for leave.
“Human continuation cannot happen if women are denied a right to give birth. It is a God given gift so humans have to find a way of fixing a solution for it. As far as we are concerned, every woman should be able to go for a maternity leave without worrying about losing their jobs,” she said.
The Ministry Permanent Secretary, Pius Bigirmana seconded the minister’s view, suggesting that men should be able to “understand the need for recreation” as they also “need their generations to carry on.”
Jane Mpagi, the Director for Gender and Community Development, during her presentation on gender equality and women’s empowerment said upholding the rights of women was essential in the social development plan.
“Women are still marginalised by persistent negative social norms, perceptions and practices. We will continue to advocate for women’s rights so that they can have equal rights as men,” Mpagi said.