HR Association Wants Central Bank to Withdraw Controversial Overtime Memo

MONROVIA, Montserrado – The Association of Liberian Human Resource Professionals is calling for the withdrawal of a recent communication issued by the Central Bank demanding junior managers and their deputies to work overtime.

On January 8, the Bank’s executive director for administration issued a memo instructing directors and head of units to remain in their offices until the bank’s executive governor leaves the premises.

“Beginning today January 8, 2019, you are asked to remain in your offices until the executive governor leaves the premises of the Central Bank of Liberia,” the memo states.

The memo noted that the Bank’s leaders had found that directors, deputy directors, assistant directors, and heads of units were leaving their offices at 5:00 p.m., even when the Executive Governor Nathaniel Patray was still in office.

Although 5:00 p.m. is beyond the legal eight hours knockout time as per the labor laws, the memorandum noted that the action of the junior managers was causing some delays in the work of the bank.

However, human resources organization said the memorandum issued by the Central Bank interrupts the right of employees and does not foster a decent work environment for its employees.

It said the Bank has desecrated provisions of the Decent Work Act which provides that regular working hours shall be eight hours in any one day or 48 hours per week.

“But until provided by law, an employer shall not cause or necessitate an employee to work extensive hours than the conventional hours of work provided by law,” the group said, noting that the only exceptions for forcing workers to work overtime are in the case of emergencies. “This is essentially not the circumstance at the Central Bank of Liberia.”

The group emphasized that employees are legally protected by the Decent Work Act and the Civil Service Standing Order to guarantee that workplaces are harmless and healthy.

It noted that employees have the right to work in an environment free of abuse, including illegally forcing employees to work overtime at the will and pleasure of the Central Bank of Liberia when they should be with their families at home.

“The Association of Liberian Human Resources Professionals is encouraging the Central Bank of Liberia to respect the Decent Work Act and International Labor Standards by withdrawing the memo and acclimating a better and legal means to get the CBL employees to work overtime and create decent work environment where employees will feel contented to work overtime without the issuance of Memo,” it noted.

The group said it is optimistic that the Bank will meet the terms of the Decent Work Act and international labor rules in creating a decent work environment for its employees where they will feel free to work and perform their duties.

Featured photo by Jefferson Krua

Gbatemah Senah

Gbatemah is a graduate of the University of Liberia and a recipient of the Jonathan P. Hicks Scholarship for Mass Communications. In 2017, Senah won three Press Union of Liberia awards: Women's Rights Reporter of the Year, Legislative Reporter of the Year, and Land Rights Reporter of the Year. In 2018, he was also recognized as the Land Rights Reporter of the Year.

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