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Parents will be able to spend more time with their newborns. The law will, in fact, be revised so that leave linked to maternity and paternity increases. An initiative which aims to improve the birth rate in the face of the problem of an aging population. In the business community, however, there is concern about the impact of this measure on SMEs.

The changes made

Paternity leave

  • Before the Budget: 1 week
  • After the Budget: 4 weeks

Maternity leaves

  • Before the Budget: 14 weeks
  • After the Budget: 16 weeks

To remember

For mothers who have given birth to twins, triplets or more, or a premature newborn, an additional two weeks of maternity leave will be granted.

The three implications in the world of work

At staff level

Who says parental leave, says long absences. Companies will have to prepare for this. “It would take a whole reorganization in the company. In some companies, replacement can be done more easily. On the other hand, for SMEs, things look more complicated, because the tasks are well defined and structured,” maintains Thierry Goder. Fortunately, he continues, “we see births coming.” “Companies can therefore prepare in advance, by recruiting a part-time or contract person as a replacement until the mother/father who is going on leave returns. If the employer is responsive and proactive, everything should go well,” he adds.

Ravish Pothegadoo, director of Talent on Tap, points out, for his part, that in many cases the husband and wife work in the same company. “This will represent a loss of income for the company, because two employees will be on extended leave simultaneously,” he points out. Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer talks about the difficulties of replacing employees during their absences. “The labor market is facing a shortage of personnel on the market. Furthermore, temporary work has not yet become part of our customs. When we recruit, young people don't want to work for three, four to six months. It will therefore be complicated to replace those who go on parental leave during their return,” she says.

On the company's finances

“It will be a financial cost, because it is paid leave. We come to catch companies off guard,” laments Ravish Pothegadoo, director of Talent on Tap.

In terms of recruitment

Ravish Pothegadoo fears consequences on recruitment. “Even before this measure, there are companies which are reluctant to enlist women who have just married,” he underlines. The risk that this trend will gain momentum cannot be ruled out. For Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer, we should expect a “certain 'bias'” towards women. Some companies will hesitate to recruit them, especially since employer contributions have increased with the increase in the minimum wage.

Mauritius compared to its Indian Ocean peers








Madagascar South Africa Meeting Seychelles Comoros
Maternity leaves 14 weeks 4 months (unpaid) 16 weeks 16 weeks 14 weeks, and up to 17 weeks in the event of complications or illnesses
Paternity leave 10 days (unpaid) Note: The law has been revised to allow parents to share leave 25 days 10 days

The concerns of SMEs

“It is completely normal to review these holidays. unfortunately this will impact production. This type of measure entails an additional cost,” says Dev Santchurn, director of Julien R and member of the SME Chambers. It shows that business spending is constantly increasing. “We had to revise salaries this year. Certainly, the State is providing support to SMEs for 2024, but in the future, we do not really know what will happen. Uncertainty reigns. Additionally, freight increases, leading to higher production costs, which increases expenses while sales decrease. We can't even raise our prices, because we are already less competitive. I wonder how SMEs will finance all this. We must expect that many SMEs will not survive,” he warns. Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer agrees. “SMEs are already suffering. They will not be able to sustain four months of leave,” she emphasizes. We are putting the entire weight of the measures on the backs of the employers, claims another operator on condition of anonymity. “How much will businesses, especially SMEs, be able to bear? We are taking management for granted,” fumes this interlocutor.

HE SAID

Ravish Pothegadoo, director of Talent on Tap: “It’s a copy and paste of what is done internationally, in France in particular. However, we cannot compare Mauritius with France, because it does not have the same economy and the same level of production. »

A measure favorably received overall

Thierry Goder, Chief Executive Officer at Alentaris:

“It’s an excellent initiative. Until now, fathers had to keep their leave to be present for the child, but also for the wife, who is going through an important moment of transition. This measure can only help the well-being of family life. »

Darmen Appadoo, founder of SOS Papa:

“We can only welcome this measure favorably. It's good that politicians recognize the importance of fathers and the bond between them and their children. This bond strengthens when they spend time together. »

Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer, director of Talent Lab:

“Extending leave for dads will allow moms to breathe. In terms of well-being, this is a good measure. In the long term, this initiative can only be beneficial for the country, which is facing an aging population. That said, there is a whole range of support and incentives that should be provided in parallel, if we want to move in this direction. This requires a strategic approach and is an issue that deserves broader reflection. »

Radhakrishna Sadien, president of the State Employees' Federation:

“This decision will encourage Mauritians to become parents. At the same time, it will be necessary to adopt other supporting measures, perhaps in the form of tax deductions. Family support is important for the child's development. It will be appropriate to ensure that the parent uses their leave for this specific need. Likewise, a more in-depth discussion with all the stakeholders concerned will be essential to determine the measures to be put in place to cope with the aging of the population. »

For more flexibility

Ravish Pothegadoo recommends more flexibility such as sharing leave between the father and mother. “You need an appropriate framework and adequate conditions for everything to happen correctly,” he adds. For Adilla Diouman-Mosafeer, it would be better to make the options more flexible and flexible depending on various sectors so as not to penalize women. “Both parents can share part of the leave. For example, the mother can benefit from three full months and the father takes over afterward. As for the remuneration, let it be paid in full for three months and for the rest, it should be half the salary. It is feared that this measure will discourage many employers from recruiting women who are about to marry or start a family. Furthermore, when a measure becomes law, it becomes rigid. We must encourage flexibility,” she concludes.

Good to know

A review of the law to protect parents on leave

Labor law will be reviewed to prevent those who go on parental leave from being fired or being discriminated against. “It's a good thing, but I don't think that in well-structured companies, a birth will prevent a person from being promoted. There are already instances where a person who feels wronged can have recourse to justice. Companies will be careful. Employees should also not take advantage of the system. Which happens sometimes. We can't have it both ways. It would be complicated if an employee who has taken maternity leave immediately follows up with a 'vacation leave'. Let's not forget that employers also have responsibilities towards their customers and suppliers. There has to be a 'win-win situation',” recommends Thierry Goder.

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