Deputy Minister for Employment and Social Welfare Bright Wireko-Brobby is promising to work with officials at the ministry to ensure the rights of all workers are adequately protected.
He mentions domestic house helps as one group of workers who deserve particular attention so their human rights are not abused.
Mr. Wireko-Brobby, a lawyer, is concerned the law which regulates the provision of safe working conditions for workers (Labour Act, 2003), does not capture domestic helps as a category of employees who deserve attention.
“These are people who sleep at 11:00pm, sometimes 12:00pm and wake up at 3:00am, but the act stipulates that we work for 8 hours. And nobody is talking about the plight of these workers,” he said during his vetting session at a sitting of the Appointment Committee of Parliament.
According to Mr. Wireko-Brobby, the Ministry of Social Welfare is currently drafting a new bill which when passed would better protect the rights of workers.
He assured outstanding concerns about the protection of vulnerable workers like domestic helps will be addressed when that bill becomes law.
He said they will work to bring the bill to Parliament as speedily as possible.
He is confident that rationalising the work of domestic helps could help the nation generate a lot more resources for the state.
“This is an area which will generate income for Ghana if we streamline it because once we streamline and they have contract of employment, they will pay social security and taxes. These are things that will generate income for mother Ghana,” Mr. Wireko-Brobby who is also Member of Parliament for HeRmang Lower Denkyira explained.
The Deputy Minister indicated he will work with ministry’s officials to deal with the issue of companies employing people as contract staff for several years instead of permanent employees, thus abusing their rights and denying them social security benefits.
He says they will apply the law to ensure such situations are brought to an end.
During the vetting, Member of Parliament for Tema East Titus Glover raised concerns about absence of safety at most workplaces, particularly in factories and industries to protect workers.
Mr. Wireko-Brobby indicated it is the mandate of the Factories Inspectorate Department at the ministry to help ensure workplace safety for all, but it is under resourced.
He said he would work to provide more resources for the department so it functions appropriately.
“Unfortunately, the department is ill resourced. Talking to staff at the ministry, I realized that this is a major constraint. Even vehicles to travel around and inspect factories is a problem,” he explained.
“I will work with my minister so hard so that we acquire at least one vehicle for them to be able to do this… as it stands, it is problematic,” he added.