- A number of key regulations in the Employment Act have been revised with a view "to making Seychelles more attractive to investors while protecting workers," according to the government. The relatively rich Indian Ocean state has suffered from several years of economic stagnation and has recognised the immediate need to attract foreign investors.
The changes to the Seychellois labour legislation - which appeared in an issue of the 'Official Gazette' of 20 March and were made by the Minister for Economic Planning and Employment, Jacquelin Dugasse - are said to be in line with what President James Michel announced in the State of the Nation Address last month.
The principal secretary for Employment, Jean Raguin, said this recently, noting that tripartite consultations between the government, employers and workers were made before the changes. "We are continually looking at ways of improving working conditions. The review of the Employment Act is being undertaken to that end," President Michel announced in his address on 28 February.
Mr Ragain said that the entire Act is under review, but changes in it will need to go through the National Assembly for approval prior to implementation. "However, the minister is empowered by the law to make changes in the regulations, and this is what he has now done," Mr Ragain said.
He said that to attract more Seychellois and foreigners to invest in the country, the Investment Code had recently formulated with the creation of the Seychelles Investment Bureau. It was found necessary, however, to review other legislation to support investment because the Code alone would not suffice save if its provisions are synchronised with those of other laws.
The government employment chief further said that some of the changes were "aimed at bringing flexibility in employment which will lead to productivity increase." For example, workers and employers could now negotiate payment of one third of the workers' leave without the interference of the Employment Department as was previously the case, Mr Regain pointed out.
He also said that workers earning more than rupees 4,100 (euro 650) can now be eligible for overtime work, and additional employment over and above the standard 48 hours per week is now not prohibited. "Previously, the law prohibited a worker from taking on employment with another employer and an employer to employ a worker already in employment if the total hours of employment would exceed 48 hours," the secretary explained.
According to the Seychellois government, a worker must, nevertheless, enjoy a daily rest of at least eight consecutive hours between ending and recommencing work.
Mr Ragain added that whereas Saturday until now loosely had been taken to be a working day in Seychelles, it would now expressly be determined that it is not a working day, while annual leave would be counted as 21 working days, excluding Sundays, Saturdays and public holidays.
The government's employment secretary also said that a law prohibiting employment of young persons had been amended and trainees following recognised courses who work under supervision of their trainers may be allowed to work even if they have not attained the age of 18 years.
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