Fair Treatment

Equal Pay

Employment Code Act of 2019 requires employers to pay equal wages for work of equal value. The Draft Constitution provides for equality before the law and equal protection and benefit of law .There is also a provision for gender equality commission. The Constitution also provides that men and women have right to equal treatment including the right to equal opportunities. A person in employment has the right to fair remuneration commensurate to the productivity or size of the enterprise. Bill of Rights is not part of the 2016 Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act and will be subject to a referendum during the 2016 general elections being held on 11 August 2016. The referendum was held and although 71% of voters voted in favour of the amendments, since the turnout was only 44%, below the 50% threshold required to validate the result, the amended Bill of Rights 2016 could not be approved. Thus, the Bill of Rights contained in 1996 Constitution is still applicable.

The Gender Equity and Equality Act provides equal remuneration, benefits and treatment in respect of work of equal value as well as equality of treatment in the evaluation of the quality of work for both men and women.

Source: §43, 51 & 54 of the Draft Bill of Rights 2016; §240 of the Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Bill, 2015; §31(1e) of the Gender Equity and Equality Act No. 22 of 2015; §5(5) of the Employment Code Act of 2019

Non-Discrimination

The Employment Code Act of 2019 prohibits an employer from direct or indirect discrimination against a current or prospective employee on grounds of colour, nationality, tribe or place of origin, language, race, social origin, religion, belief, conscience political or other opinion, sex, gender, pregnancy, marital status, ethnicity, family responsibility, disability, status, health, culture or economic grounds. The 2019 law prohibits direct or indirect discrimination on above grounds in respect of recruitment, training, promotion, terms and conditions of employment, termination of employment or other matters arising out of the employment.

However, it is not considered discrimination to take “affirmative action” measures consistent with the promotion of equality or the elimination of discrimination in an enterprise; distinguish, exclude or prefer any person on the basis of an inherent requirement of a job; restrict employment to citizens or restrict access to limited categories of employment where it is necessary in the interest of state security.

The draft Constitution prohibits discrimination on any grounds including birth, race, sex, origin, colour, age, disability, religion, conscience, belief, culture, language, pregnancy, health, marital, ethnic, tribal, social or economic status. Bill of Rights is not part of the 2016 Constitution of Zambia (Amendment) Act and will be subject to a referendum during the 2016 general elections being held on 11 August 2016.

The Constitution of 2016 also talks about establishment of Gender Equality Commission to promote the attainment and mainstreaming of gender equality.

Other than the above referred discriminatory grounds, the Employment Code Act of 2019 considers dismissals on the following grounds: union membership or participation in union activities outside working hours or during working hours (with employer’s consent); employee’s representative; for  filing of a complaint or the participation in proceedings against an employer; family responsibilities relating to taking care of a member of an employee’s immediate family; absence from work during maternity or paternity leave; or temporary absence from work during sick leave or injury.

The Employment (Amendment) Act 2015 considers dismissals on the following grounds as unfair: race, colour, sex, marital status, family responsibilities, pregnancy, religion, political opinion or affiliation, ethnicity, tribal affiliation or social status of the employee.

In accordance with the Gender Equity and Equality Act, discrimination in employment on the basis of gender should be eliminated.

The Persons with Disabilities Act 2012 requires that no such person may be discriminated against on the basis of disability with regard to all forms of employment, including conditions of recruitment, hiring and employment, continuance of employment, the creation, classification and abolition of positions, the determination of wages, pension or other benefits, apprenticeship, promotion, career advancement and safe and healthy working conditions. The Act further allows fixation of employment quota for persons with disabilities in the public and private sectors.

Source: §27 of the Draft Bill of Rights 2016; §31 of the Gender Equity and Equality Act No. 22 of 2015; §35-39 of the Persons with Disabilities Act 2012; §5 and 52(4) of the Employment Code Act of 2019

Equal Choice of Profession

Women can work in the same industries as men as no restrictive provisions could be located in the laws. In accordance with the draft Bill of Rights 2016, a person has the right to choose a trade, an occupation or a profession, subject to limitations imposed by law.

In accordance with the Gender Equity and Equality Act, men and women are free to choose a profession and field of employment.

Source: §53 of the Draft Bill of Rights 2016; §31 of the Gender Equity and Equality Act No. 22 of 2015

Regulations on Fair Treatment

  • Constitution of the Republic of Zambia, 2016/Draft Bill of Rights 2016
  • Anti Gender Based Violence Act 2011
  • Penal Code, 1931
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