It is widely recognised that a poor work ethic in both the public and private sector is a constraint to doing business in Botswana. A related impediment has been identified – far too many annual leave days for Batswana workers.
That at least is the conclusion of South African consultants who prepared a report for the British High Commission. In a section of the report that deals with the main elements that constrain doing business in Botswana, the report lists “too many leave days” among such. This is completely new territory, even for the World Economic Forum which does not include leave days in its analysis of country competitiveness. WEF gets its reports from the Botswana National Productivity Centre which, as its spokesperson, Stryker Motlaloso says, has also not done any work on leave days.┬á┬á
The consultancy report weighs Botswana’s chances of reaping the benefits of being part of a free trade zone that spans southern and east Africa with a market of 600 million people. The number of annual leave days in Botswana was compared to those of other countries in that zone and the consultants’ conclusion was that the country is not very competitive in that particular regard. However, “too many” is construction few would use considering the difference between leave days in Botswana and those of other countries within this zone.
In Botswana, a minimum of 20 working days of paid leave for manual workers, 25 days for officers and 30 days for managers is given per year. An employee is entitled to a minimum of 14 working days paid sick leave in any one year of continuous employment and provision is made for maternity leave totalling three months – 6 weeks before and 6 weeks after confinement.
On average, Kenyan employees enjoy annual leave of 24 days, female employees are entitled to three months of maternity leave and the minimum period of entitlement for sick leave is seven days with full pay and seven days with half-pay┬áfor every twelve months.
In South Africa, an employer must grant an employee at least 21 consecutive days’ annual leave on full remuneration in respect of each annual leave cycle. The country’s sick leave cycle is a period of 36 months and by law, an employee is entitled to an amount of paid sick leave equal to the number of days the employee would normally work during a period of six weeks. That works out to 10 days a year. An employee is entitled to at least four consecutive months’ maternity leave. Additionally, someone who has been in employment with an employer for longer than four months is entitled to three days’ paid family responsibility leave which the employee is entitled to take when the employee’s child is born; when the employee’s child is sick or in the event of the death of the employee’s spouse or life partner; or the employee’s parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, child, adopted child, grandchild or sibling.