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    The Expert Explains

    Question: Valid or not?
    "Your hours of work can be changed, provided you are given 12 hours notice of such change"?

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    Generally an employee may not be dismissed for refusing to sign a contract of employment. But are there circumstances where the employer can take stronger action short of dismissal?

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    1. Jan Truter
      Posted 9 April 2018 at 11:12 am | Permalink

      It depends on what he means by ‘manager’ – maybe it just means that you are expected to manage administration and deal with other logistical aspects in his absence. You do not mention what duties and responsibilities were agreed when you started working or how long you have been working there. I suggest you discuss it with him and clarify what he means, as well as what the implications are.

    2. Abigail
      Posted 5 April 2018 at 12:25 pm | Permalink

      Good day,
      Am employed and signed a contract that says am a receptionist.The owner of the company says
      am manager verbal and also l do the manager duities.Plese advise what to do.

    3. Jan Truter
      Posted 27 March 2018 at 2:51 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Leigh: The parties to an employment contract are free to agree on a longer termination period than the minimum required in terms of the BCEA, as long as it applies both ways.

    4. Leigh
      Posted 27 March 2018 at 12:02 pm | Permalink

      Just quickley someone asked me to look over a contract of employment. It states that the Employer wants a 6 month notice period. Surely this is onerous and illegal.

    5. Jan Truter
      Posted 10 March 2014 at 9:40 am | Permalink

      Reply to Nadia: Our advice is that, instead of trying to force employees to sign contracts, you rather take disciplinary action for their misconduct.

    6. Nadia
      Posted 10 March 2014 at 9:24 am | Permalink

      Good day
      I am the new business owner of a fuel station. when I took over the business, the manager that i employed did not draw up new employment contracts. However in light of the motor industry strike in September the need for a written employment contract has become necessay. I am now faced with late coming, bad language to fellow workers, petty thief, bad mouthing to customers. I have had a labour lawyer come in to afford the workers an oppertunity to voice their grievances and have drawn up a contract highlighting general worker expectation regarding being on work on time etc. However the workers do not wish to sign the contacts.In prevoius years the fuel attendants ran things their own way, handling cash, giving fuel to customers as they wish. I have now put in controls to stop theis unprofessional behavour and off course the fuel attendants do not like the new control measures , for example a cashier is employed to prevent shortages in their cash takings. What can I do with regard to therir refusal to sign their contract. For eaxmple there was a power shortage in the week and 2 of the workers just left 2 hours early

    7. Jan Truter
      Posted 23 July 2013 at 8:12 am | Permalink

      Reply to Penny: It is unacceptable for and employee to do work that conflicts with the interests of an employer. You may not be able to force him to sign any restraint, but that does not mean there is no basis for terminating his employment. This by no means a straight forward situation and I suggest you approach a specialist in labour law to advise and assist you.

    8. penny
      Posted 23 July 2013 at 7:48 am | Permalink


      We have employed a professional in our small business. after 3 years of employment we offered him a cointract to sign as we became aware that he was working for an opposition medical practice ( with our knowlege) and felt that we needed to put a resrtict of trade in place. He now flatly refuses to sign the contract. what can we do? Is there someting like forces resignation?

    9. Jan Truter
      Posted 4 March 2013 at 5:18 pm | Permalink

      Reply to Andy: There is no obligation to sign a contract, only to provide the employee with written particlars of employment. By default the BCEA or relevant wage regulating measure will apply.

    10. Andy
      Posted 4 March 2013 at 2:56 pm | Permalink

      what if the employer refuse to sign an employment contract?

    11. Johan Krugel
      Posted 12 October 2012 at 10:59 am | Permalink

      Very informative and a great help to the “smaller” consultants who do not have access to Case Law. Thank you I appreciate your service.

      Jogan Krugel

    12. Jan Truter
      Posted 20 September 2012 at 1:41 pm | Permalink

      Response to Leonie: If you were dismissed without a hearing or without a good reason you can refer an unfair dismissal dispute to the CCMA. Bear in mind that you have to refer the matter within 30 days after your dismissal.

    13. Leonie Weakley
      Posted 13 September 2012 at 8:51 am | Permalink

      My case was this: I was in the second last year of a 43 year career as a teacher. I have three degrees, and had taught at this school for 7 years. I was teaching 7 coursaes, and working very well. 18 distinctions over the 7 years. When I started, the board agreed to allow me to sign a contract with a month’s notice, because I was unsure of my future plans. JHowever, when it became clear, after 4 years that intended to stay to retirement, they asked me to sign a new contract giving three months notice. I agreed verbally, and even reminded the principal on one accassion that I had not yet done so, but she never produced it. She and I had a fall out, and I was fired. Apart from the huge tromatic emotional effect this had, the school, which we had started together, owed me R18000.00. They paid me two months salary, in effect bringing my notice to a three month notice period, but refused to pay me what was owed, because they believed they had covered this since I had only signed a contract giving one month’s notice, and they had paid me for three months. What is my position? I did verbally agree to sign the new contract, but it is her word against mine. Please advise.

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