The job losses that have been brought about by the Covid-19 pandemic seem to have opened the eyes of the government.
Some people have lost their jobs during the pandemic as some companies shut down or scale down operations. For folks who didn’t have a stash of savings, it means they are having a hard time to make ends meet in these troubling times.
This is what the government is attempting to avoid in future by a way of providing unemployment benefits to people who unexpectedly lose their jobs.
Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Minister Professor Paul Mavima said his ministry is working with the National Social Security Authority (NSSA) to set up a National Unemployment Scheme fund that will cover employees when they lose their jobs. Talking to The Herald, the Labour Minister said:
The idea is to have a fund that is supported by the workers themselves, employers and Government to support workers who are temporarily out of employment.
Our experiences during the Covid-19 pandemic have taught us that we need to be prepared for things like this when people lose their jobs because of unexpected occurrences. People lose their jobs everyday and at times they are between jobs and it is during this time that they need financial support.
We want to create a savings scheme where we all make contributions so that during tough times people who lose their jobs can find relief. We do not want people to be forced into a situation where they spend the little savings they have made.
How much employees will contribute
The report stated that the fund will be financed by both the employee and employers like how the NSSA pension fund is financed. Employees and employers both meet halfway to contribute to the pension fund, each party contributing 3.5% of insurable earnings.
It’s not yet known how much employees and employers will contribute to the National Unemployment Scheme. As it is, the Labour Ministry is still consulting NSSA to see if it’s feasible to come up with such a fund.
After the consultative process with NSSA is done, the labour ministry will then submit its proposals before the parliament for debate.
Good iniative but…..
In principle, the idea of a fund that employees can turn to when they don’t have a source of income is laudable. However, introduction of the National Employment Scheme may be ill-timed given that the measly salaries many people are earning in Zimbabwe will be further eroded by these deductions. In other words the National Employment Scheme deductions will reduce the disposal income of employees.