WINDHOEK - The Ministry of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare proposed in their social protection policy draft that maternity leave period for all employed women be increased to four months from the current three months.
And these four months also applies to sick leave and death benefit fund provisions.
The ministry stated that increased maternity leave supports increased breastfeeding and better care for the newborn babies.
The ministry shared these proposals and many others with various leaders from Khomas Region including local authority councillors, traditional authorities, government offices, ministries and agencies and non- governmental organization to deliberate on the draft social protection policy that aim to address vulnerabilities, tackle social exclusion and eradicate poverty.
Other proposals are to increase the universal child and disability grants, employment creation and empower women and youth, sustained old age and disability income security, inclusion of marginalized people, provision of affordable housing and enhanced coordination of social protection and improved monitoring and evaluation of social protection.
The ministry is consulting with the region on decentralization of its social welfare function. In the draft policy, the ministry noted maternity, sick leave and death benefit fund has a ceiling of N$13 000 per month for a maximum of 12 weeks for fully paid-up woman on maternity leave. The draft stated many employers do not make up the loss in income for women who earn more than this ceiling amount when they take maternity leave for three months.
This loss of income can be significant at this time when women need income most and newborn babies require breastfeeding and the best care.
“The Social Protection Policy therefore provides that regulatory steps be taken by the Social Security Commission and employers to raise the ceiling for maternity benefits to full earning of employees,” read the draft.
The Minister of Poverty Eradication and Social Welfare Dr Zephania Kameeta said the draft policy adopts a broad view of social protection as composed of, social assistance, social insurance, social welfare services and labour market policies as well as a broad range of public and sometimes private instruments aims to enable Namibia people to manage risks, cope with vulnerabilities, eradicate poverty and reduce inequality.
The minister said Namibia’s social protection system is regarded, as comprehensive when compared to many systems in Africa most especially is Southern Africa. “However, our systems are still largely fragmented and exclusive with a lack of effective synergy of social protection policies and programmes, hence the need the social for social protection reforms,” he said.
Kameeta stated although significant decline in poverty has been observed, inequality persists. He said this situation restrict economic growth and reinforces itself through high levels of unemployment, triggering economic and social risks to the vulnerable one of the society.
“The constitution of Namibia requires the State to actively promote as well as maintain the welfare of people and create equal opportunities. The constitution exhorts the State to safeguard the dignity of people, create equal opportunities for women, protect children, support the unemployed and indigent, ensure decent work and provide regular pensions to the elderly,” the minister said.
Most of the intervention and programmes in the draft policy are not new but require strengthening, acceleration, enhance coverage and adequacy in order to address the basic needs of our people and lift them out of abject poverty
Khomas Region Governor Laura McLeod- Katjirua said the consultative meeting on social protection policy provides a good platform for the region’s input to be incorporated in this very important national policy.
“This engagement is essential for us to interrogate the modalities of the protection policy to create a social protection system that is efficient and effective in addressing risks and vulnerability that our people face in their different stage of their lives,” stated McLeod- Katjirua.
She added that the policy comes at the right time as the region is faced with numerous social and economic challenges such as high level of unemployment notable amongst the youth, drought which this year was declared a state of emergency and an undesirable level of poverty.
2019-06-28 09:00:59 | 4 months ago