Female teachers demand unlimited maternity leave

File pic: Pregnant woman

TEACHERS affiliated to the Amalgamated Rural Teachers Union of Zimbabwe (Artuz) have called on government to come up with labour policies that will ensure unlimited paid maternity leave for female teachers.

This follows the recent arrest of a female teacher who brought her baby to school during working hours.

The female teacher, Mercy Kagone of Mudzimu High School in Hurungwe, Karoi, allegedly brought her baby with her to school as she could not afford a domestic worker.

She was also charged with absenteeism at work and failure to invigilate the 2021 Zimbabwe Education Council (Zimsec) Ordinary Level examinations twice.

The Primary and Secondary Education ministry described her actions as “unbecoming or indecorous behaviour”.

“Accordingly you, Ms Kagone Mercy, a member of the Public Service are charged with misconduct in terms of Section 44 (2) of the Public Service Regulations 2000 as amended and read with paragraphs 1,3,6 of the first schedule (section 2) to these regulations as amended,” part of the charges levelled against her read.

She was charged in accordance to paragraph 6 of the First Schedule (section 2) of Public Service Regulations which reads in part: “unbecoming or indecorous behaviour”.

ARTUZ has described the punishment as too harsh.

“We demand fully-paid and unlimited maternity leave for workers. Ahead of the 16 days of activism, we believe administrative injustice like limited maternity leave should end.

“We are outraged because a woman is being persecuted for playing dual roles of being a professional teacher and a caregiver. No woman should be subjected to this. The teacher cannot afford a child minder because of underpayment,” Artuz tweeted.

Primary and Secondary Education ministry spokesperson Taungana Ndoro curtly responded:  “Has anyone ever brought a child to work?”

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