In light of the anticipated issuance of the new Egyptian labour law, complementary and related laws are also expected to undergo changes.
In this respect, last December, law no. 186 of 2023 (the “Law”) was issued with the primary objective of amending specific penalties outlined in Child Law No. 12 of 1996 (the “Child Law”) and introducing a new provision.
First and foremost, the Law has added a new provision, namely Article 72 bis, which grants female employees in the government, public sector, business public sector, and private sector the same rights as provided in Articles 71 and 72 (nursing breaks and childcare leave) if they have custody or guardianship of a child under 6 (six) months. These rights are subject to the provisions of the executive regulations of the Child Law.
Additionally, the Law has amended several penalties within the Child Law, mainly increasing the monetary fines.
It is crucial to highlight one such amendment, wherein the penalty for negligence while supervising a child, resulting in their endangerment, may now, alternatively, be imposed through enrolling the violator in a rehabilitation program lasting no longer than 6 (six) months by virtue of a court ruling instead of through imprisonment or monetary fines.
The programs will be determined by a decree issued by the competent Minister of Social Affairs in collaboration with the National Council for Women and the National Council for Childhood and Motherhood.
Furthermore, the court will monitor the violator through monthly reports the entity overseeing the rehabilitation programs submits. The court will then decide on the completion of the program, its replacement, or the enforcement of the penalty.
It is encouraging to witness initiatives prioritising rehabilitation as a form of deterrence, in addition to or in lieu of traditional penalties. Such approaches may inspire other stakeholders to focus on and contribute to improving these programs.