Source: The Reporter
By Yonas Abiye

The House of People's Representatives (HPR) on Thursday approved a draft to revise the existing Labor Proclamation which has been in place for a decade.

The newly revised bill, referred to as Labor Proclamation No.1156/2019, has granted female workers an extended period of maternal leave while it also extends the period of probation for employees who are newly recruited.

During the regular session of the House, it was said that the bill was designed in-line with the country's economic growth, development policies, and strategies along with industrial developments.

The revised bill, reviewed by the Women, Youth and Social Affairs standing Committee, accords female employees at least 120 days for a maternal leave including a one-month pre-natal leave and a three-month long post-natal leave.

Presenting the report, the head of the standing committee, Abeba Yosef said that the revised proclamation helps guarantee the right of workers and employers to form their respective associations and engage through their lawfully elected representatives as well as lay down the procedure for the expeditious settlement of labor disputes, which arise between workers and employers.

She further highlighted that the revision will help strengthen and defined by law, the powers and duties of the government organ charged with the responsibility of inspecting labor administration, particularly labor conditions, occupational safety, health and work environment. In addition, it is primarily aimed at promoting smooth working relationships between employers and employees.

As stipulated in its provisions, the bill extends the probation period of employees from the current 45 days to 60 days.

According to the provision, the agreement should be made in writing and the period should not exceed 60 working days beginning from the first date of employment. It further adds that if the worker, during his probation, proves to be unfit for the post, the employer can terminate the contract of employment without notice and without being obliged to give a severance payment or compensation.

Abeba said that the latest proclamation will enable workers and employers to maintain industrial peace and work in the spirit of cooperation towards the economic growth of the country.

The new labor proclamation, numbered 1156/2019, has repealed Ethiopia's Labor Proclamation No.377/2003; Proclamation No.466/2005, Proclamation No.494/2006 and proclamation No.632/2001.

Similarly, the House passed a revised Employees Administration Regulation No. 10/2019 by a majority vote and nine abstaining.

In the same session, the House has unanimously approved the revised Proclamation on Value Added Tax which has been enforced for the past 17 years.

The Revised Value Added Tax Proclamation No.1157/2019 is aimed at resolving the impediments created in collecting taxes and facilitating trade activities across the country.

It was noted that the amendment of the law was needed to put in place efficient business climate and provide an efficient service for taxpayers.

The bill mainly focuses on the revision of provisions including Accounting Periods, the Vat Paid on Capital Goods as well as Refunding Withheld Vat.

Considering the length of the accounting period, the procedure has brought challenges on both the taxpayer and the authority. This system especially has brought more burdens to the mid-level and low-level taxpayers who visit the authority every month to report their transactions.

According to the existing bill, anyone registered under the VAT payers' category is expected to report every month, no matter how much the amount of his turnover is, or even if the business is showing nil (no transactions).

Hence, to this effect, the new bill states VAT payers' to report every month if their annual transaction is more than 70,000,000 birr and/or import capital goods. However, for those VAT payers' who record less than 70,000,000 birr annually and those who have a nil transaction to report every three months.

MPs have also held discussions on the draft Electoral and Political Parties Law of Ethiopia which was later referred to the respective standing committee of the House, for revisions, with a majority vote and two abstaining.

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