IN THE INDUSTRIAL RELATIONS COURT OF MALAWI
MATTER NO. IRC 152 OF 2001
SECURICOR (MW) LTD RESPONDENT
CORAM: R. Zibelu Banda (Ms), Deputy Chairperson.
Ngalauka Court Clerk
Terminal benefits- Remuneration- Payment of remuneration upon termination of contract of employment- Severance allowance- who is entitled to severance allowance-Notice pay- when notice pay is payable.
The applicant Mathews Kapolo brought this action claiming balance of salary for January 2001, salary for February 2001, one month notice pay and severance allowance from the respondent. He was employed on 15th December, 2000 and his employment was terminated on 13th February, 2001. The respondent did not appear to respond to the allegations despite proof of service of notices of hearing issued by this court on a number of occasions. However they filed IRC Form 2 in which they disputed the claims. They alleged that the applicant had been paid all his terminal benefits upon termination of employment.
The issue for the court to decide is whether the applicant was entitled to the salary for January and days worked in February 2001 before his employment was terminated and whether he was entitled to one months salary in lieu of notice. The court record shows that the applicant had proved that he did not receive all his salary for January, he only received K193.00 out of a salary of K1600.00 per month. The record also shows that the applicant did not receive any salary for the days worked from 1 February to 13 February.
This court is empowered to order an employer to pay its employees their dues earned while in employment. Before such order can be made the employer is given an opportunity to show that either the employee was not entitled to what he is claiming or that he was paid all that he was claiming. In the instant case the employer did not prove that they had paid the dues claimed in accordance with section 53(1) of the Employment Act 2000.
The respondent is liable to pay the applicant the terminal benefits claimed. These benefits are as follows:
The applicants employment was terminated but he was not given any notice or salary in lieu of notice. Therefore the court finds that the respondent should pay the applicant the equivalent of one months salary as notice in accordance with section 29 (1)( a) as read with section 30 (1) of the Employment Act. The applicant proved that he was earning K1600.00 per month. Therefore his notice pay is K1600.00.
Salary is a fundamental term of any employment contract. The respondent is therefore ordered to pay K1408.00 as salary balance for January 2001. The respondent is also ordered to pay K676.90 as salary for the 13 days worked in February. The total due to the applicant is K3,684.90. This money must be paid within seven days of the judgment to comply with section 53(1) of the Employment Act 2000.
The applicant is not entitled to severance allowance. He had only worked for the respondent for two months. The scale on severance allowance makes calculations from twelve months service. The meaning of severance allowance in ordinary language is to thank the employee for the services rendered to the employer for a reasonable period of time. It would be asking for too much to demand an employer to pay severance allowance for services rendered in a period of two months. The claim on this head must therefore fail and is hereby dismissed.
The court record shows that respondent has already complied with the order to pay K3,684.90 and that the applicant has been paid his full entitlements.
Pronounced in Open Court this .day of . 2003 at Limbe.
R. Zibelu Banda (Ms)