Wednesday, May 03, 2017

Namibian Court Says Members of Jehovah's Witness Order Are "Employees"

A Labour Court in Windhoek, Namibia last week held that members of the Worldwide Order of Special Full-Time Servants of Jehovah's Witnesses should be treated as "employees" under the country's Labour Act and Social Security Act.  Classifying the Congregation of Jehovah's Witnesses of Namibia as an employer means that it must provide maternity and sick leave payments for members of the Order. According to The Namibian yesterday:
Acting judge Unengu noted in his judgement that although the congregation and members of the order did not sign written employment contracts with each other, members of the order completed application forms to become a member in order to serve the church in a full-time capacity.
Once accepted as a member, they are also required to take a vow of obedience and poverty, which is taken to be an indication that they are prepared to live a modest lifestyle and to perform any tasks assigned to them by the order. Members of the order are also required to abstain from outside employment.
Acting judge Unengu further noted that members of the order had fixed hours of service from Mondays to Fridays and received a monthly allowance of about N$940.