We have retrenched some employees in our company, some of whom have written to us requesting for transport allowance for themselves and their children to their home villages. What does the law say on how many family members and relatives can be repatriated and paid for by the employer?
Section 43 of the Employment and Labour Relations Act imposes an obligation on the employer to repatriate the employee, upon termination, from the place of work to the place of recruitment and not to the employee’s home village or town. Normally the place of recruitment is shown in the contract but if it is not shown in the contract, the place of solicitation of the employment is taken to be the place of recruitment.
The law requires the employer to repatriate the employee with her/his personal belongings and not with the family, though we have observed that it is a practice in many private organisations to repatriate an employee with their belongings together with one spouse and up to a maximum of 4 dependents. However, this is just a practice and not the law. The employer pays the employee transport allowance which is equal to a bus fare to the bus station nearest to the place of recruitment or she/he can transport the employee by using a company’s car. Many employers who know that the employee is not going to be actually going back to the place of recruitment offer the company car to go ‘drop’ the employee and his family.