31 March 2020 – Special leave created for parents with children under 15

Type of Intervention: Executive Order, Regulation
Sectors Involved: Social Services
Intervention Categories: Legal and policy; New initiatives
Level of Jurisdiction: National
Lead People/Agency: Ministry of Employment

Overview: Workers with children under the age of 15 and who attend relevant educational institutions which have since March 16 closed amid the COVID-19 pandemic, can now apply for special leave under the Employment (Coronavirus Special Leave) (Temporary Measures) Regulations, 2020 .
The newly introduced regulation, which came into force yesterday, permits certain categories of workers, including parents (father, mother or guardian with whom the child or children reside) with children enrolled in schools, workers on quarantine or in isolation as a precautionary measure to prevent the spread of the coronavirus in accordance with the directive of the health authorities, as well as workers whose work organisations are temporarily partially or wholly closed during the pandemic, to seek special leave from their employers, starting from March 16, until the situation is normalised and school institutions resume their operations.

The special leave applies to workers who are employed on a continual basis, on fixed term contracts and on part-time contracts. It also applies to expatriate workers but does not apply to expatriate workers outside of the jurisdiction, for instance, those who are abroad on annual leave or who have been left stranded due to travel bans in place and have thus been unable to return.

A third category of workers are automatically permitted to take the special leave without any application procedures. Should an employer refuse to grant a worker special leave unreasonably, the worker has the right to appeal the decision by issuing a letter to the Ministry of Employment, and a response and decision can be expected in seven days, according to the officers.
While the regulation makes provisions for parents, the regulations do not apply to those involved in the provision of essential services, namely, services relating to the generation, supply or distribution of electricity and water, hospital or medical services, services relating to the sewerage service, airport and port and marine services including civil aviation, customs, immigration, airline catering and unloading and service of ships and aircraft, fire and rescue services, services relating to retail or distribution of pharmaceutical products and medical equipment, wireless, telephone internet and cable communication services, meteorological services, postal services, banking and financial services, service relating to retail, wholesale, distribution and supplies of food, and water, service of manufacturing of essential commodities, service of public transportation including inter-island air and sea transportation, waste collection and disposal service, petroleum and gas retail services, storage, supply and distribution of petroleum and gas services, security services , disaster management services, print, audio and visual media or broadcasting services, service of government treasury, and the district administration service. Home carers are also excluded from the list.
“In this case, a child with both parents in essential services or as a home-carer, we suggest that the two employers discuss to organise that both parents benefit from the special leave by turns as long as the school institutions are closed. To facilitate this, the regulation is foreseeing that in such instances, the employer must not refuse an employee special leave unreasonably, so when the home-carer or an employee of an essential service requests the special leave, the employer must consider the context, such as if the employee is a single parent, or the spouse of the employee or other parent is incapable of caring for, and looking after the wellbeing of, the child, on the basis of disability, confinement or absence from Seychelles,”

Full details here: http://www.nation.sc/articles/4137/new-law-introducing-special-leave-now-in-force

Type of Justification: Advice of INTERNAL government advisory committee or group, Perception of an increased threat to the country
Source of Evidence or Justification: National – government
Evidence/Justification: Workers who are in quarantine or isolation or are separated or segregated as a precautionary measure to stop the spread of the virus, need not apply for the special leave, provided they are issued with a certificate from the relevant health authority.