Fixed overtime questioned in parliament

Prime Minister Saara Kuugongelwa-Amadhila has defended fixed overtime payment made to some health ministry employees by saying that it is a mechanism designed to overcome an administrative burden.

Opposition party member, Elma Dienda in parliament this week questioned why only a few health ministry officials are eligible for fixed overtime payments.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila said that this is due to the frequency of overtime claims by the affected job categories whose jobs require them to perform overtime consistently on a daily basis. 

 “The criteria being followed in fixed overtime payments is that inevitable overtime worked on a regular basis must be proven through the submission of actual overtime claims for a period of 12 months. If it is established that overtime is worked on a regular basis a number of normal and Sunday overtime hours are determined based on the actual claims submitted”.

“This is taken up in an agreement to be signed by each staff member. The current agreement provides for nine normal hours and three Sunday hours per week,” she said.

She added that the amount paid is calculated as prescribed in Section 17 and 10 of the Labour Act, 2007, for the payment of overtime per hour whether normal or Sunday hours and the annual salary of the functional level of the Job category concerned is used to calculate the hourly rate.

 Kuugongelwa-Amadhila also said that the fixed overtime allowance continue during periods of annual and sick leave, not longer than 30 days and it is discontinued for periods of study leave.

“However, government continues to pay fixed overtime to registrars while on special study leave with full remuneration especially those specializing at South African Teaching Hospitals. The government completes an undertaking form from the Department of Home Affairs in South Africa stating that the Namibian government shall pay the registrars' salaries during the specialisation training before they are accepted to such teaching hospitals,” she said.

She added that the reason the registrars retain their fixed overtime is due to them doing calls and for a workweek of 52 hours the same as other medical officers at home for which they are not eligible to be compensated by the teaching hospitals because they are in supernumerary positions.

Kuugongelwa-Amadhila explained that the revision is being done on laws that allow payment of fixed overtime to be paid according to work done as compared to current fixed income.

“The payment of overtime is a basic condition of employment as prescribed by the Labour Act and has to be paid when the conditions of employment demands the payment of overtime. However, the employer can make organisational changes and employment arrangement that prevent work to be done in excess of the prescribed hours of work and therefore the payment of overtime is as indicated,” she said.