The Ghana National Association of Teachers (GNAT) has made a passionate call to government to increase the period allowed as maternity leave by three months. Maternity Leave in Ghana is currently three months as provided by the Labour Act, 2003 (ACT 651), but GNAT thinks extending it to six months is more ideal. This was part of resolutions taken at the GNAT 2018 National Quadrennial Delegates Conference in Cape Coast. The decision according to Mr. Kwame Dagbandoo, Upper West Regional Secretary for GNAT, is necessary because the future growth and development of the nation rests on the children of today.
Speaking about the decision to Hafiz Timbile in an interview on Radio Waa Saturday morning programme, Labour Front, Mr. Dagbandoo said “other neighbouring countries are doing it. Some are even going beyond that [six months]”. He also stressed that “if maternity leave even extends to six months, [government] should make sure that, that job is secured for that person to come back and take up [her] job.
“The labour law does not say that if somebody is on maternity leave before she comes back her position or her job should be given to somebody, because this is part of the International Labour Organization (ILO) Convention 183 on Maternity Protection”. He stated.
The GNAT Secretary said nothing can be taken “so important than bringing up our children”, adding the decision is “taken in line with the exclusive breastfeeding” as a policy under the Ministry of Health.
Tier-3 Pension Scheme
Touching on other resolutions passed by Congress, the GNAT regional secretary disclosed that delegates recommended for GNAT members to start contributing to the tier-3 pension scheme so as to take advantage of the non-taxable amount on their salaries. Mr. Dagbandoo said this pension scheme is voluntary per the law, thus members can decide to contribute any amount they preferred.
“Based on the new pension act, there is a provision of a component of our salary, which is 16.5% that if we pick money from that place and put into the tier-3 it is going to be tax exempt. It will be free from tax. So as it is now, we have not taken advantage of the tier-3 and because of that that 16.5% which is part of our mainframe salary is being taxed”, he disclosed. He further added that the contributions to the tier-3 will be invested which will yield returns for the contributor upon retirement.
He however stressed that “it is not compulsory; it is a voluntary provident fund. So those who are interested can hook on; if you are not interested nobody compels you”.
Other resolutions passed at the 2018 GNAT Conference include a call on government to abolish the Three Month Salary Arrears Pay Policy; provision of accommodation for teachers; the establishment of a Cancer Fund for GNAT members; termly examination to be set by teachers themselves and not external bodies; and many others.
Source: RadioWaa | Hafiz Timbile Adams