KAMPALA — Kampala Kindergarten Association (KKA) has suspended teachers and staff on compulsory unpaid leave as the impact of Covid 19 in Uganda continues to bite.
This comes at the time the country is grappling with Covid-19 and the crisis has disrupted the labour market and the sustenance of private business entities that rely heavily on that market.
The Association told their staff in an internal memo that they should consider the leave as a “temporary layoff” during which the school will not expect them to work and it will not be obligated to meet salary payment obligations.
Kampala Kindergarten Association prides itself in being one of the very first kindergartens in Uganda and over the years, it has continued to maintain its position as a center of excellence in Early Childhood Education.
The memo seen by PML Daily dated 18 June says that the staff will continue to benefit from healthcare insurance and have access to Kampala Kindergarten Association staff trust fund scheme while on compulsory leave.
“Following the caution that accompanied the April Salary, requesting you to use the money sparingly, you’re hereby formally informed that the school is unable to pay salaries effective May 1, 2020 until further notice,” the memo seen by PML Daily reads in part.
“However, as long as your contract with Kampala Kindergarten Association is still running, you are allowed to continue using the school medical scheme and be able to access your savings on KKA staff trust fund,” the memo adds.
Although Ms Lucy Nanyunzi, the head teacher of the school in an another letter written during the closure of the school early March due to Covid 19, had a lot of hope that schools would open anytime and instructed the teachers to give children usual motivation work and said the parents would bring it back for marking as they come for the open week on 6 April, 2020, things have not worked that way.
Efforts by this reporter to reach Ms Nanyunzi on her cell phone were futile as she could not answer her official known lines.
KKA now joins a growing list of companies that are sending home their staff on compulsory unpaid leave after Uganda Christian University (UCU) and King’s College Budo who have already suspended their teachers and other staff members owing to the disruptions by COVID 19 pandemic.
Covid 19 pandemic has caused the major education institutions in the private sector to take such an action with the alternative being sackings due to drying up cash flows.
The KKA explained that the implication of this unfortunate, yet unforeseen event is that the school cannot meet its obligation to provide work for a majority of its staff whose services will not be required while the situation persists.
The memo does not explain whether the staff members’ accrued paid annual leave (if any), will be factored into the compulsory leave period and paid when schools reopen.
But just says “Once this pandemic is over, the school will call upon your service when operations resume fully. KKA considered the measures as ‘reasonable’ in the circumstances.”
It is clear that ever since the emergence of COVID-19 as a pandemic, the world has witnessed extensive lockdowns and a call for people to stay home as some of the preventive measures against the spread of the disease.
The current level of uncertainty posed by COVID-19 has strained employment relations between private business owners and their employees because of the employer’s need to scale down on their losses and the polar need to ensure the security of employee’s employment and health.
KKA is a non- profit-making organization whose major activities are is to give care, teach and prepare children between two and six years for primary education and the school was registered in 1951 as a Public Trust by a group of British parents with a major objective of providing a worthwhile care and education for their children between three and six years.
Initially, KKA was exclusive to only children from the well-to-do families, who at that time were mainly European children. It later turned include local children between two and six years old.