Q&A – 9 August 2021

Driving barefoot

I was stopped by a traffic police who peeped inside my car and questioned me why I was driving barefoot. I told him that it is not an offence to drive barefoot and he asked me which law allows me to drive barefoot. I was unable to continue with the argument because I was not sure whether there was any such law. I told him most of the women who wear high heels remove their shoes to drive and that would mean all of them commit an offence as well. Please guide if I committed an offence.
LK, Dar

Traffic offences are prescribed under the Road Traffic Act [Cap.168 R.E 2002], the Road Regulations and other subsidiary legislations made under the Road Traffic Act. We have read the Road Traffic Act and the subsidiary legislations made thereunder especially the Road Traffic (Notification of Offences) Regulations, 2011 which summarise all minor road traffic offences liable to notification but could not find a provision that prohibits driving barefoot. Our opinion that you can cross verify with your lawyers is that since there is no law prohibiting driving barefoot, it is not an offence to drive barefoot. The fact that women wearing high heels remove their shoes when driving does not change our response or your defence.

Sick leave cycle length

I am employed by a manufacturing company as an accountant. Last year I fell sick and was given paid sick leave for 126 days; 63 days were fully paid and 63 days were half paid. I have fallen sick again this year and my doctor has recommended that I should take another long sick leave. I have made an application for a sick leave but the Human Resources Manager informs me that I may be granted the leave but it will be unpaid leave because I got paid sick leave just last year and thus not eligible this year. Is this position of the HR Manager fair and consistent with the law?
FM, Morogoro

Section 32 of the Employment and Labour Relations Act [Cap.336 R.E 2019] gives an employee a right to a paid sick leave for at least 126 days in any leave cycle. In the first 63 days the employee is entitled to a fully paid wage during sick leave. In the second 63 days the employee is entitled to half paid sick leave.

Section 30(1)(b)(ii)(aa)(bb) of the Employment and Labour Relations Act defines sick leave cycle as a period of 36 months of consecutive employment with an employer commencing from the date of employee’s engagement or the completion of the last sick leave. This restriction is only for paid sick leave. The employer has discretion to permit an employee to take sick leave before the expiration of 36 months from the date of his/her engagement or before the completion of the last employee’s paid sick leave provided that the employee cannot demand to be paid salary during sick leave taken before the expiration of 36 months. Paid sick leave before the expiration 36 months may only be taken where the employer and the employee or the employer and a trade union have signed a contract or arrangement that provides for a shorter period of sick leave than 36 months provided under the law.

In your case, since you are intending to take a second sick leave before expiry of the 36 months, your second sick leave that you have applied for now is not eligible to pay. Subject to approval of your employer, you may take leave but it will be unpaid. The position of your HR Manager is correct.

Permit to use water from a self-dug water well

Because of shortage of clean water in the suburb where I am living, I decided to dig my own water well in order to get clean water for domestic consumption. the health officer from the local government authority is harassing me that I am supposed to obtain a certificate of water quality test for me to be allowed to use water fetched from my own water well. Does the law demand a water well owner to obtain such a certificate of water quality before using water from self-dug well for human consumption? Please guide.
AJ, Chalinze

There are two legislation that govern construction and use of water well, the Water Resources Management Act, 2009 and the Water Resources Management (Water Well Quality Monitoring) Regulations, 2018. Section 11(3) of the Act, exempts a shallow water well owner from the requirement to obtain a ground water use permit if water fetched from the well is intended for family consumption and the depth of the water well does not exceed 15 meters.

While a shallow water well owner is exempted from the obligation to obtain underground water use permit, regulation 5 of the Regulations imposes an obligation on the shallow water well owner to obtain a certificate of water quality test before using or permitting others to use water from a self-dug water well. This is to ensure the safety of the water that you consume.

The permission to use water from a self-dug water well for human consumption is given after a water quality test has been conducted on the water sampled from the well and the relevant local government authority or water board for the area is satisfied that water from the self-dug well is fit for human consumption. Water quality test is meant to determine the toxic chemicals in the water that might be harmful to the human body. Using water or causing the use of water from a self-dug well before conducting water quality test is an offence attracting a fine of not less than TZS 500,000 or imprisonment for a term not exceeding 6 months. We strongly recommend you to comply.