Rwanda has approved the long awaited maternity protection bill that grants mothers a better package of their remuneration while on a 12-weeks leave.
While chairing an extraordinary cabinet meeting, President Paul Kagame, on Friday, March 20, 2015, gave green light to a draft law, once passed by parliament, will allow mothers get 100% of their salary while on leave attending to their newborn babies.
Working parents have been pressing government to revise the previous law under which mothers only received full salary during first half of maternity leave and in second half were required to surrender 80% of salary or return to work.
“Rwandan Cabinet has adopted the law on maternity leave insurance, which reinforces Government’s efforts in social development,” tweeted Finance Minister, Claver Gatete.
With the new law, the employer will pay half the salary while the fund covers the remaining half. Under the new law every employee, either private or public will surrender 0.6% of their salary to contribute to a mother’s pay on maternity leave.
Companies or state agencies will carry 50% (0.3%) of the cost. This implies that, a person earning Rwf 2.7m ($3,913) will be contributing Rwf 8,000 ($12).
A primary teacher earning Rwf40, 000 ($60), would contribute Frw126 ($0.2).
Salaries will be deducted by the employer through the existing Social Security Fund (RSSB), regardless of the type of contract or size of the salary.
The Law allows mothers to stay home much longer during the time babies need them most. In a previous story, KTPress established that employers are support the law.
Ritesh Patel, Chief Finance Officer of Utexrwa Ltd, a textile factory in Kigali commented on the required contribution, and said, “It is not a burden to us, provided that when a mother comes back, she delivers to the company expectation.”
His firm has 450 employees, and 300 of them are women. It pays workers Rwf 40M ($57,932) in salaries every month.
The new Law requires them to contribute Rwf 120,000 ($174) monthly.
Institutions behind the fund are confident that the bill will pass soon.
“We hope it will not delay at parliament” says Public Service Minister Judith Uwizeye.
“Since the public showed interests to the bill, legislators who represent them would not oppose it.” Claudine Kaze, a civil servant chose to forego 80% of her salary to take care of her baby girl last year.
She says, “I wish the bill can be passed tomorrow.”
The Minister will brief the press about the draft bill this afternoon.