Ignatius Baffour Awuah, Minister for Employment and Labour Relations
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Jun 14, 2017 

Ghana’s Labour Department is planning to launch an online system to enable organisations to file their quarterly employment returns electronically.

When it becomes operational, the landmark system is expected to change the face of the country’s labour market by providing timely and reliable data on the market.

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The filing of employment returns by employers, which is mandatory under the Labour Act 2003, (Act 651) is to help the Labour Department to generate employment statistics that determines the rate of employment and unemployment, as well as indicate the employment opportunities in the various sectors.

Currently, employment returns are filed manually whereby companies submit their returns to the national, regional and district labour offices across the country, amidst challenges.

However, while many companies have been irregular in the filing of the returns, others do not file at all. Job market analysts believe the manual system is a disincentive in the filing process.

Francis Ofori Kwansah, Administrator of the Labour Department in an interview with ADR Daily in Accra on the outlook of the department, said they remain optimistic that the online system would motivate all employers to file their quarterly employment returns regularly.

“For now, the returns submissions trickle in, but they delay,” he said.

He also said that the introduction of the new online filing system, which would be operated on the Department’s Ghana Labour Market Information System (GLMIS) online portal, is being developed with grants from the World Bank and European Union.

The prospects of the new system are good, but would not yield the desired results if a number of challenges facing the department are not addressed.

Currently, most of the offices of the department, which is under the Ministry of Employment and Labour Relations, are in a state of deterioration, and do not have adequate skilled workers required to operate the new online system.

“Our staff strength has reduced drastically over the last few years. There are no replacements for staff who exit either through retirement, resignation or death,” Mr. Kwansah said, indicating that the department current has 199 staff nationwide.

On the question of the capacity of the department to tabulate the returns to generate timely employment statistics, the Administrator said the present state of the offices had made that function difficult.

“We don’t have computers and the facilities to do that. A few computers we had some time ago are all broken down.

“An entire renovation of the offices and the provision of modern facilities are required,” he said.

However, he said there is some hope since part of the grants from the World Bank and European Union for the online project, would be used to renovate 20 offices across the country.

In addition, a number of workers would be trained and equipped with the relevant Information and Communication technology skills to effectively man the new system.

The department, he added, is in the process of designating some of its offices in the districts as Public Job Centres to effectively help in linking job seekers to employers and companies that declare vacancies.

Regarding the regulation of private employment agencies, he noted that all the private agencies would soon be required to operate on the GLMIS portal where they would have to declare their job opportunities and vacancies for prospective employees to apply.

That, he said, would ensure the effective monitoring of the operations of the private agencies.

Section 5 of the Labour Act indicates that “An employer may employ any worker either through a Centre or a Private Employment Agency.”

Regarding employment data, Section 6(l) states that “The Chief Labour Officer (who heads the Labour Department) or an officer authorised by the Chief Labour Officer shall submit to every employer a questionnaire relating to employment of workers by the employer within the respective Centre. (2) The employer shall complete and return the questionnaire to the Chief Labour Officer or the authorised officer within fourteen days after the expiry of every three months (3) Where an employer fails or refuses to complete and return the questionnaire as required under subsection (2), the Chief Labour Officer shall direct the employer to do so within a specified time, and the employer shall comply with the direction.”

By: Samuel Mingle/adrdaily.com




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