Mauritius: Key measures aimed at integrating women in the labour force and improving childcare are being catered for in the Budget 2023-24, as outlined by the Minister of Finance, Economic Planning and Development, Dr Renganaden Padayachy.
The Minister underpinned key measures aimed at better connecting women to opportunities and improving their financial independence. The Budget announced that in order to promote gender equality at all levels, listed companies shall have a minimum of 25 percent of women on their boards.
Furthermore, to encourage women entrepreneurship, women owned MSMEs will benefit from a 10 percent increase in the margin of preference for public procurement of goods.
Finally, the Minister underlined that Government will contribute Rs 15,000 monthly for a period of two years for newly employed women or those who have been unemployed for at least a year under the Prime à L’Emploi Scheme. According to the Budget, these companies will be provided with a 200 percent tax deduction.
Furthermore, with a view of enhancing access to childcare and make the workplace more inclusive, the following measures have been elaborated in the Budget 2023-24: public childcare centres will be set up in main areas under a PPP model; the grant for child day care centres to undertake upgrading works will be increased by 30 percent to Rs 650,000; and it is made compulsory for all companies employing more than 250 employees to provide necessary facilities for workplace-based childcare.
The Budgetary measures also allow a double deduction on the cost of setting up a childcare centre and make it mandatory for all new shopping malls, office buildings and hotels to have a nursing room for women.
In line with the philosophy of the caring Government, the Budget caters for the well-being and the development of children. This year, it caters for the welfare of pediatric patients up to the age of 17 years who require medical treatments not available locally. The maximum amount of Rs 1 million under the Overseas Treatment Scheme will be waived and Government will cover the full cost of overseas treatment of the patient.
Besides, the Budget will ensure that each child diagnosed with cancer is taken care of fully by the Government from the time of diagnosis until all care is given. Children in the Republic of Mauritius diagnosed with cancer will henceforth benefit from financial assistance for the full costs of cancer care and treatment in foreign hospitals with the best expertise.
According to the budgetary measures, parents choosing to have the treatment in local private hospitals will also benefit from the full costs related to the treatment.
The Finance Minister announced another key measure aimed at giving families greater flexibility in managing work and care, that is the introduction of a new stand-alone leave of 5 days for workers who have experienced a pregnancy loss.
Moreover, an employee currently has the possibility to use up to 10 days of sick leaves to take care of children with healthcare related issues. This measure is being extended to enable the parent to use all his or her sick leaves to take care of his or her child.
Furthermore, employees will be able to use up to 10 days of sick leave to take care of their parents and grandparents with healthcare related issues.