Maternity leave pay requires actual evaluation: Nujoma

Stefanus Nashama

The Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Utoni Nujoma in response to questions in Parliament, said the issue of full salary payments for women’s maternity leave requires an actual evaluation.

Nujoma was responding to Popular Democratic Movement Member of Parliament, Winnie Moongo, who tabled a motion in September this year, to discuss the possibility of increasing the amount payable in respect of maternity leave.

This, she said includes paying women their full salaries and extending maternity leave days.

In response, the Minister said that the Social Security Commission exists to protect insured working Namibians from loss of income arising from sickness, maternity leave, disability retirement or death of ensured members through schemes based on social insurance principles.

This, he said requires an in-depth actual evaluation to ensure no one is disadvantaged.

“The Act requires that all employers and employees be registered as members under the two Funds, Maternity, Sick and Death Benefit Fund as well as the Employee Compensation Fund with the provision of income replacement in times of temporary shocks where the member loses income due to being on unpaid sick leave or unpaid maternity or suffers a permanent disablement or fatality arising out of occupational injury,” Najoma explained.

At the same time, the Minister pointed out that the Social Security Commission has over the years periodically increased the benefits of the Maternity, Sick and Death Fund.

According to the Minister, this includes, the previous maximum contribution of N$108 (N$54 per employee and N$54 per employer), at a basic wage of N$6,000.00 was increased to N$162 (N$81 per employee and N$81 per employer) for employees whose monthly earnings are N$9 000 and above.

Uutoni added that for employees earning below N$9 000 per month, the monthly employee and employer contributions are being calculated at 0.9 percent of the monthly basic wage.He said this increase from N$108.00 to N$162.00 in 2013 remains in force to date, presenting the factual justification.

At the time of posing questions, Winnie observed that the current benefit paid for maternity leave is N$15,000.00, adding that this was an increase from N$13,000.00 effective 25 March 2022.

In response, the Minister said the Social Security Commission has over the years increased the benefit paid without any corresponding adjustments to the contributions payable by employers.

“The actuarial analysis and advice inform us that it is not recommended to completely remove the insurable earning ceiling on maternity leave benefits yet, as the impact of removing the insurable earning ceiling is expected to be the detriment of the fund at this stage,’” the Minister justified.

He stressed that the alternative was made to increase the insurable earning ceiling gradually over time to ensure the sustainability of the funds.

Related Posts