John was very worried when his wife, Mary, was ordered to resign from her work as a shopkeeper and they were evicted from their house, which her employer as part of her work as the shopkeeper had given them.
This would be a terrible situation for any family but it was particularly bad for John as he was continuing his education so Mary was the only one supporting their family.
Mary had worked for the shop owner for 4 years before she was sacked and evicted from her home. This happened because Mary became pregnant and went to her employer with the required certificate from her Doctor to talk with him about the pregnancy and maternity leave. The employer was not happy and refused to grant her maternity leave. Not only that, he asked her to resign as shop keeper and evicted her and her family out of her house.
Under our law (Labour Act s42) every female employee is entitled to 12 weeks maternity leave, including 6 weeks compulsory leave after her confinement.
John heard on the radio about TSI Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre. John came to the ALAC office and complained about the treatment on his wife to one of the legal offices at ALAC. ALAC pursued John’s case and asked him to come back to the ALAC office with some documents to help with his case.
ALAC wrote to the Commissioner of Labour about the complaint. Two months later the Commissioner contacted John and his wife and the employer.
With the help of ALAC and the intervention to of the Commissioner of Labour, they managed to amicably settle the problem outside court. The employer agreed to pay Mary the maternity leave allowance that he owed.
Does this story sound familiar to you? Have your rights been violated? Or do you know someone who has been victim of, or witnessed corruption.
Transparency Solomon Islands Advocacy and Legal Advice Centre provides a forum to provide legal advice and follow up complaints of corrupt activities.
By Daniel Fenua
Research & Communications Officer
Transparency Solomon Islands