Labour Bytes

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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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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NEW MINIMUM WAGE RATES FOR THE HOSPITALITY INDUSTRY

The Department of Labour has announced a minimum wage increase for the Hospitality Industry effective 1 July 2014.

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FORFEITURE OF ANNUAL LEAVE

Question: Can annual leave be forfeited?

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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

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.

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THE RELEVANCE OF LAPSED DISCIPLINARY WARNINGS

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

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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“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?

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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.

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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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EMPLOYEES WHO REFUSE TO SIGN A CONTRACT

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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9 Comments

  1. 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.

  2. 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

  3. 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.

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

    Morning

    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?

  5. 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.

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

    what if the employer refuse to sign an employment contract?

  7. 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.

    Regards
    Jogan Krugel

  8. 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.

  9. 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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