Post Imageemployment - LEGAL ADVICE ON SUSPENSION OF EMPLOYMENT AND LAY-OFF FROM EMPLOYMENT IN CAMEROON.

LEGAL ADVICE ON SUSPENSION OF EMPLOYMENT AND LAY-OFF FROM EMPLOYMENT IN CAMEROON.

INTRODUCTION ON SUSPENSION OF EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT

Struggling businesses, in an effort to cut cost resorted to suspension of employment of some staffs, temporal staff lay-off from employment or reduce salary and/or working of some of their staffs.

Businesses are at liberty to take any practical steps to mitigate their losses or to stay in business in these challenging covid 19 times, however, it has to be done in accordance with the laid down labour laws and procedures in Cameroon. In view of the above, this article considers the various legal rights available to both the employer and the employee during these challenging times.

SUSPENSION OF EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT IN CAMEROON

The Cameroon Labour code especially Section 32 of clearly states the conditions for suspension of employment in every labour relationship in Cameroon;

  1. Suspension is legal where it can be established that departure of the employer is aimed at undertaking military service
  2. Suspension of employment is legal during the workers absence in the case of illness duly certified by a medical practitioner.
  3. Suspension of employment is legal during a period of maternity leave
  4. Suspension of employment is legal during any period of disciplinary suspension of the worker.
  5. Suspension of employment is legal during any period of leave for workers education.
  6. During a period of unavailability following an industrial accident or occupational disease
  7. By mutual consent during the exercise of political or administrative duties following an election or appointment
  8. During the period where the worker is under police custody
  9. During a period of lay-off from employment.

LAY- OFF FROM EMPLOYMENT IN CAMEROON

Section 32(k) of The Cameroon Labour code defines Lay-off from employment as “Lay-off shall mean the collective interruption of all or part of the work done by personnel of an undertaking due to accident or force majeure or unfavourable economic conditions. Lay-off is one of the modes for suspension of employment contract.

In today’s economy, unprecedented economic hardships have resulted in employers adopting legal innovative ways to sustain businesses and also keep their employees at work.

One of the steps taken by businesses is to temporarily suspend the employment of employees till the economic conditions improve.

The condition for suspension of employment on economic grounds by lay-off from employment must be established so it is not construed as a constructive dismissal and the period of lay-off from employment should not exceed 6months.

When it becomes necessary to suspend an employment contract, it is imperative that the employer and the employee negotiate and come to a compromise. In absence of consent from the employee, it will be unlawful and unfair to suspend a person’s employment contract.

During lay-off from employment, employees shall not be entitled to salary/wages because salary/wages are paid only for work done. However, the employer can cut down the salary of the employees and agree to pay the employees compensation as per section 33(3) of the Cameroon Labour code.  Once the employees acknowledge collecting compensation sum, it becomes binding on them like any contract agreed and signed by parties.

CONCLUSION

It is very common to see organizations or corporations seek legal advise on suspension and lay off decision to a worker in an employment contract. Each and every situation presents its peculiar challenges. It is therefore advisable that professional advice be sought on suspension of employment and lay-off on employment to avoid any potential claim from employees who may feel they have been wrongfully sent out of work.

Article by MAFANY victor NGANDO

Kinsmen Advocates Law Firm

“The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advise should be sought about your specific circumstance”.