Labour Bytes

POWER OUTAGES – MUST EMPLOYEES BE PAID?

The recent power outages have again raised the question as to whether employees can insist on payment of their salaries or wages for the duration of such outages.

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TERMINATION OF A CONTRACT OF TEMPORARY EMPLOYMENT

Must an employer give notice of termination of the services of an employee who has been employed on a temporary basis?

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FORFEITURE OF ANNUAL LEAVE

Question: Can annual leave be forfeited?

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NEW EARNINGS THRESHOLD AS FROM 1 JULY 2014

The earnings threshold will increase to R 205 433.30 per year with effect from 1 July 2014. This has favourable implications for employees that previously earned in excess of the threshold, but will fall under the threshold as from 1 July 2014.

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EFFECT OF SICK LEAVE ON OVERTIME PAY

How does an employee’s absence due to illness affect overtime pay?

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Latest Articles

PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT CLARIFIED

Until recently, our labour legislation has made no reference to part-time employment. What has gone almost unnoticed is the specific introduction of the protection of employees that are employed on a part-time basis in contrast to fixed term contracting that has received a lot of publicity recently.

[...]

PHYSICAL SEARCHES, ALCOHOL, DRUG AND POLYGRAPH TESTING-MAY AN EMPLOYER INSIST?

There is nothing in our law that prevents an employer from adopting a workplace policy that requires employees to submit to tests or allow themselves and their belongings to be searched.

[...]

INSOLENCE AND INSUBORDINATION – WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

The workplace is not a democracy. One of the implied terms of the contract of employment is that of subordination – the employee has to submit to the authority of the employer provided this is exercised lawfully and reasonably.

[...]

THE IMPORTANCE OF SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND THE NEW BBBEE CODES

How will an organisation’s upcoming skills development submission impact on its future BBBEE ratings and what steps can be taken to maximise their scores in this element?

[...]

EMPLOYER RIGHTS PERTAINING TO PREGNANCY AND MATERNITY LEAVE

Does a job applicant need to disclose her pregnancy status to an employer? May an employer take disciplinary action against an employee who, at the time of appointment, failed to disclose her pregnancy? Or lied about it? May an employee who is on maternity leave be dismissed for genuine reasons relating to performance, disciplinary action or redundancy?

[...]

FIXED TERM CONTRACTS – CHANGES EFFECTIVE FROM 1 JANUARY 2015

One of the most important changes to the Labour Relations Act , which came into effect on 1 January 2015, is the added protection afforded to employees on fixed term contracts. While some employers and employees are not directly affected, the impact will be far reaching and employers are encouraged to review their current contracts and practices to ensure compliance.

[...]

CONTRACTING OUT OF THE LABOUR RELATIONS ACT

Imagine a situation where an employer does not have job vacancy, but agrees to accommodate a person as a favour. The person is employed with the clear understanding that if things do not work out, the contract may be terminated without the employee having recourse to the remedies afforded by the Labour Relations Act. Can this be done?

[...]

CHANGING A DISCIPLINARY SANCTION

Does it make any difference if the employer’s disciplinary procedure makes specific provision for management’s power to overrule a chairperson’s decision? Or if it states that the chairperson’s findings are just recommendations and not final decisions?

[...]

MEDICAL CERTIFICATES BY TRADITIONAL HEALERS

Do medical certificates issued by traditional healers have to be accepted by employers? While there does not appear to be an obligation to do so at present, indications are that it will be soon become a reality.

[...]

THE RELEVANCE OF LAPSED DISCIPLINARY WARNINGS

Can lapsed warnings be taken into account when an employee faces disciplinary action?

[...]

EMPLOYMENT EQUITY ACT AMENDMENTS EFFECTIVE FROM 1 AUGUST 2014

The Employment Equity Amendment Act of 2013 has finally come into effect on 1 August 2014. Not only large employers are effected and some provisions apply to all employers, irrespective of their size. The Department Labour is likely to be very active in assessing employers’ compliance in the months to come.

[...]

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR ALCOHOL AND DRUGS IN THE WORKPLACE

Dealing with alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace is not easy. At the one extreme you might have a driver who drinks heavily on a particular occasion while on duty, and then drives and crashes a company vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. At the other extreme, you might have a clerk who occasionally smells of alcohol at the workplace, but approaches the employer of his own free will for assistance with alcohol dependency. While these situations clearly require different approaches, there could be a number of situations in between that each requires a slightly different approach.

[...]

EARLY TERMINATION OF FIXED TERM CONTRACT BY BALEKA MBETE

When employers want to terminate a fixed-term contract before the expiry date, it would seem to make sense that this could be done as long as they pay the employee for the balance of the term. However, a recent Labour Court case involving the Office of the Presidency has highlighted the fact that premature termination of employment may amount to an unfair dismissal.

[...]

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE “YOUTH WAGE SUBSIDY”

With effect from 1 January 2014 employers can take advantage of the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI), often referred to as the “youth wage subsidy”. It appears to be a very simple process, essentially administered by SARS.

[...]

“PIEMPING” ON A FELLOW EMPLOYEE

What if a fellow employee does something that causes the employer harm – is there an obligation on his/her collegues to report this to the employer?

[...]

DOCTORS ISSUING SICK CERTIFICATES ON DEMAND

Employees are not necessarily the only ones to blame for the abuse of sick leave in South African workplaces. It is a known fact that some doctors earn an easy fee by issuing medical certificates without examining the employee. Most employers assume that they simply have to accept medical certificates at face value.

[...]

WHEN XENOPHOBIA REACHES INTO THE WORKPLACE

Can disciplinary action be taken against staff that threaten or assault fellow employees outside the workplace?

[...]

AGREEMENT TO TERMINATE EMPLOYMENT DUE TO PREGNANCY

Our Constitution protects pregnant employees against unfair discrimination. But can an employer and employee enter into an agreement that employment will be terminated if the employee fall pregnant?

[...]


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PART-TIME EMPLOYMENT CLARIFIED

Until recently, our labour legislation has made no reference to part-time employment. What has gone almost unnoticed is the specific introduction of the protection of employees that are employed on a part-time basis in contrast to fixed term contracting that has received a lot of publicity recently.

 

PHYSICAL SEARCHES, ALCOHOL, DRUG AND POLYGRAPH TESTING-MAY AN EMPLOYER INSIST?

There is nothing in our law that prevents an employer from adopting a workplace policy that requires employees to submit to tests or allow themselves and their belongings to be searched.

 

INSOLENCE AND INSUBORDINATION – WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?

The workplace is not a democracy. One of the implied terms of the contract of employment is that of subordination – the employee has to submit to the authority of the employer provided this is exercised lawfully and reasonably.

 

THE IMPORTANCE OF SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND THE NEW BBBEE CODES

How will an organisation’s upcoming skills development submission impact on its future BBBEE ratings and what steps can be taken to maximise their scores in this element?

 

EMPLOYER RIGHTS PERTAINING TO PREGNANCY AND MATERNITY LEAVE

Does a job applicant need to disclose her pregnancy status to an employer? May an employer take disciplinary action against an employee who, at the time of appointment, failed to disclose her pregnancy? Or lied about it? May an employee who is on maternity leave be dismissed for genuine reasons relating to performance, disciplinary action or redundancy?

 

FIXED TERM CONTRACTS – CHANGES EFFECTIVE FROM 1 JANUARY 2015

One of the most important changes to the Labour Relations Act , which came into effect on 1 January 2015, is the added protection afforded to employees on fixed term contracts. While some employers and employees are not directly affected, the impact will be far reaching and employers are encouraged to review their current contracts and practices to ensure compliance.

 

TERMINATING AN EMPLOYEE’S SERVICES BY AGREEMENT

Is it always necessary to go through onerous disciplinary or incapacity procedures before terminat-ing an employee’s service? The short answer is no. Unfair dismissal protection only applies when an employee is dismissed.

 

CONTRACTING OUT OF THE LABOUR RELATIONS ACT

Imagine a situation where an employer does not have job vacancy, but agrees to accommodate a person as a favour. The person is employed with the clear understanding that if things do not work out, the contract may be terminated without the employee having recourse to the remedies afforded by the Labour Relations Act. Can this be done?

 

CHANGING A DISCIPLINARY SANCTION

Does it make any difference if the employer’s disciplinary procedure makes specific provision for management’s power to overrule a chairperson’s decision? Or if it states that the chairperson’s findings are just recommendations and not final decisions?

 

MEDICAL CERTIFICATES BY TRADITIONAL HEALERS

Do medical certificates issued by traditional healers have to be accepted by employers? While there does not appear to be an obligation to do so at present, indications are that it will be soon become a reality.

 

THE RELEVANCE OF LAPSED DISCIPLINARY WARNINGS

Can lapsed warnings be taken into account when an employee faces disciplinary action?

 

EMPLOYMENT EQUITY ACT AMENDMENTS EFFECTIVE FROM 1 AUGUST 2014

The Employment Equity Amendment Act of 2013 has finally come into effect on 1 August 2014. Not only large employers are effected and some provisions apply to all employers, irrespective of their size. The Department Labour is likely to be very active in assessing employers’ compliance in the months to come.

 

ZERO TOLERANCE FOR ALCOHOL AND DRUGS IN THE WORKPLACE

Dealing with alcohol and drug abuse in the workplace is not easy. At the one extreme you might have a driver who drinks heavily on a particular occasion while on duty, and then drives and crashes a company vehicle while under the influence of alcohol. At the other extreme, you might have a clerk who occasionally smells of alcohol at the workplace, but approaches the employer of his own free will for assistance with alcohol dependency. While these situations clearly require different approaches, there could be a number of situations in between that each requires a slightly different approach.

 

EARLY TERMINATION OF FIXED TERM CONTRACT BY BALEKA MBETE

When employers want to terminate a fixed-term contract before the expiry date, it would seem to make sense that this could be done as long as they pay the employee for the balance of the term. However, a recent Labour Court case involving the Office of the Presidency has highlighted the fact that premature termination of employment may amount to an unfair dismissal.

 

TAKING ADVANTAGE OF THE “YOUTH WAGE SUBSIDY”

With effect from 1 January 2014 employers can take advantage of the Employment Tax Incentive (ETI), often referred to as the “youth wage subsidy”. It appears to be a very simple process, essentially administered by SARS.

 

“PIEMPING” ON A FELLOW EMPLOYEE

What if a fellow employee does something that causes the employer harm – is there an obligation on his/her collegues to report this to the employer?

 

DISCIPLINING EMPLOYEES WHO ARE ON SICK LEAVE

Just before she has to attend a disciplinary hearing, your employee submits a medical certificate stating that she is unable to attend the hearing because of some undisclosed illness. What should you do?

 

SKILLS DEVELOPMENT AND THE NEED TO PLAN FOR THE 2013/2014 SUBMISSIONS

With the rather frenetic 2012/2013 mandatory grant submission process a thing of the past, it now becomes vital for Organisations to implement their Workplace Skills Plans (WSP). The need for speedy implementation is certainly exaggerated by the fact that the submission date has been brought forward.

 

DOCTORS ISSUING SICK CERTIFICATES ON DEMAND

Employees are not necessarily the only ones to blame for the abuse of sick leave in South African workplaces. It is a known fact that some doctors earn an easy fee by issuing medical certificates without examining the employee. Most employers assume that they simply have to accept medical certificates at face value.

 

WHEN XENOPHOBIA REACHES INTO THE WORKPLACE

Can disciplinary action be taken against staff that threaten or assault fellow employees outside the workplace?