Most contracts of employment contain an overtime clause which states that the employee agrees to work overtime “as and when needed”. But is the overtime clause enforceable?
Being under the influence of alcohol at work cannot be tolerated in any workplace. Some employers set the bar higher by adopting a ‘zero-tolerance’ approach with regard to the mere presence of alcohol in an employee’s system. Breath-alcohol (‘breathalyser’) tests are commonly used as a measuring tool in both instances. But just how reliable are these tests?
When an employee goes on maternity leave, others almost inevitably have to fill in for her. During her absence the question may arise whether she is really needed and whether her position has become redundant. May the employer retrench her in these circumstances? Our courts have repeatedly come to the assistance of pregnant employees who have been discriminated against. But how far does that protection go? Read more…
The possession and use of dagga for private purposes may no longer be a criminal offence, but to what extent may employers control employees’ habits in the workplace? And may an employer adopt a ‘zero tolerance’ approach?
It is fairly common practice to allow employees to work beyond their retirement age. But what if such employees want to hang on to their job indefinitely? And to what extent are post-retirement employees protected against unfair dismissal?
Are vaccination mandates still appropriate? Do employees still have to be screened, wear masks, sanitise and keep a distance?
A new Code of Good Practice on the Prevention and Elimination of Harassment, came into effect on 18 March 2022. The Code, issued in terms of the Employment Equity Act (EEA), replaces the previous Code of Good Practice on Handling Sexual Harassment cases in the Workplace.
What does the future hold with regard to the wearing of masks, social distancing, vaccination and other protective measures in the workplace?
Theresa Mulderij vs Goldrush Group – After considering evidence and argument by both sides, the CCMA commissioner found that the dismissal of the employee had been fair. Read more…
Utter the words ‘mandatory vaccination’ and someone will see it as a call to arms. This causes most employers to be hesitant about implementing mandatory vaccination policies. But do employers really want to force employees to be vaccinated?
In South Africa, allegations of unfair discrimination tend to have a familiar theme – often an employee having been discriminated against on the basis of being black, female, pregnant, etc. But every now and then a white male claims to have been on the receiving end of unfair discrimination. If one adds language and culture to the mix, it makes for interesting reading.
Employers who intend to make vaccination mandatory may face an uphill battle.
Several provisions pertaining to Covid-19 vaccination have been added in the updated ‘Consolidated Directions on Occupational Health and Safety Measure in Certain Workplaces’ gazetted 11 June 2021.
Since the updated ‘Consolidated Direction on Occupational Health and Safety Measures in Certain Workplaces’ was gazetted on 11 June 2021, two new categories of ‘paid time off’ or ‘sick leave’ came into being – both of these relate to Covid-19 vaccination.
The maximum amount on which unemployment insurance fund contributions are calculated has been raised to R17712.00 (The previous maximum was R14872.00 per month). The change is effective from 1 June 2021.
Purposes of the Act The Protection of Personal Information Act of 2013 (POPIA) follows the example of similar, quite onerous legislation in the European Union aimed at protecting individuals’ right …
[Abbreviated version] Businesses are facing an uphill battle with employee attendance due to the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. Are employees entitled to paid sick leave, annual leave, unpaid leave, UIF illness benefits or Compensation Fund benefits?
In the wake of the devastation caused by Covid-19, fast food outlets, restaurants and caterers across the country are being dealt yet another blow. The Minister of Employment and Labour has extended the terms of the Main Agreement of a newly formed Bargaining Council for the Fast Food, Restaurant, Catering and Allied Trades (‘BCFFRCAT’) to establishments across the entire country.
[Abbreviated version] The long-term effects of Covid-19 on businesses have become clearer. Short-term interventions, such as taking annual leave, temporary lay-off, short time and pay cuts, may no longer be appropriate. It may be necessary for a more permanent measure; i.e. retrenchment. But what payments are employees entitled to if they are retrenched?
As we approach the end of a very unusual year, employers are faced with multiple questions surrounding annual leave entitlement.
Many employees took annual leave during the lockdown, resulting in a significant depletion of the leave available to them. Many employees have also been laid off or had their work hours reduced. But how has leave accrued during this period and how must it be calculated?
Much confusion has arisen with the introduction of the Covid-19 temporary employee / employer relief scheme (C19 TERS)
As the economic effects of Covid-19 drag on, employers are faced with new questions surrounding the temporary lay-off of employees. Surely lay-off cannot continue forever. So, for how long may employees be laid off?
Disciplinary hearings via Skype? Consulting via Zoom? Are such processes allowed? Electronic platforms have become more accessible. The Covid-19 pandemic has alerted us to opportunities that were not obvious before. Does this mean that we may embrace these platforms in labour and employment law processes?
With a large proportion of the population likely to become infected with Covid-19 before a vaccine is available, businesses are in for a rough ride in the coming months. Some employees will have tested positive, others might simply present with symptoms. Are they entitled to paid sick leave, UIF illness benefits or Compensation Fund benefits?
Retrenchment may be the first thought that comes to mind for employers who are hard hit by Covid-19. However, in most cases rushing into the retrenchment process is not a good idea.
Aside from the adverse economic, health and social impact of the Corona crisis on people generally, employers are also confronted by complex legal issues and facing several employment challenges after lockdown.
According to an “Easy – Aid Guide for Employers”, the UIF has added a R3500 per month flat rate benefit to the existing relief measures, which it refers to as a “National Disaster Benefit”.
In a drastic measure to curb the spread of COVID-19, the SA Government has declared a lock-down as from midnight on Thursday 26 March 2020 until midnight on Thursday 16 April 2020. This will be enacted in terms of the Disaster Management Act. During this period all employees, with the exception of a few categories, will have to stay at home. Who pays their salaries? What happens after the 21-day lock-down?
Here are the announced measures by Minister of Employment and Labour to facilitate a variety of UIF claims relating to the Coronavirus.
Some businesses are under severe strain as a consequence of the severe measures implemented due to the COVID-19 having been declared a national disaster. They are resorting to emergency measures such as short time & temporary lay-off. A fairly recent amendment to the Unemployment Insurance Act of 2001 is likely to bring much needed relief to affected employees.
Now that the World Health Organisation has declared the Coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak a pandemic and the President has declared it a national disaster, employers are under increased pressure to take action: What precautionary measures should be taken, what forms of leave apply, how must employees be accommodated, quarantine, how does one deal with a slowdown in business, etc?
The basis of every employment relationship is a contract of employment. As the parties are bound by the contract, careful thought should be given to the specific terms and conditions. But how much information should be included and how flexible can it be?
Employees are legally entitled to parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave as from 1 January 2020. This follows a proclamation issued by the President (on 23 December 2019) in terms of section 17 of the Labour Laws Amendment Act of 2018.
All too often employers are expected to be technically correct when drafting disciplinary charges. But is this fair to the employer? What if the employee has not been prejudiced?
It is the breakdown of the relationship of trust that normally justifies termination of employment in cases of employee misconduct. How serious must that breakdown be? Does the employer have to prove such breakdown of trust to justify dismissal?
When employers restructure in order to improve efficiencies, it leads to redundancies. Redundancies can lead to retrenchment, but not necessarily. This is where employers often get it wrong.
Occasionally a customer or other external party is witness to employee misconduct. It may be necessary for such person to give evidence in disciplinary proceedings. If the employee challenges the outcome of the hearing, such evidence may also be needed in arbitration proceedings. But what if the person does not want to get involved? Is hearsay evidence allowed?
When it comes to retrenchment, employers tend to make the mistake of announcing their decision to retrench before consulting with the affected employees or their union. Confronting employees with a fait accompli can be fatal to the process. But does this mean that an employer may not form any opinion before consulting?
In a disciplinary hearing an employee has the right to be heard before being judged. But does an employee have the right to be heard before being suspended pending the outcome of the hearing? Against the background of conflicting case law, the Constitutional Court has finally brought about some clarity on pre-suspension hearings.
Employers were expecting the minimum wage rates in the Wholesale and Retail Sector to be increased with effect from 1 March 2019 – this did not happen.
Adherents to certain religions are reluctant to work on their sabbath or other holy days. But what if such a refusal clashes with the employer’s operational needs?
The national minimum wage (NMW) has been signed into law. Effective 1 January 2019. What exactly does this mean to employers and employees?
A recent Labour Court judgement highlighted the importance of respecting an employee’s home language and right to an interpreter in a disciplinary hearing. But what if the disciplinary hearing is conducted in English and the employee is proficient in English?
People may no longer be prosecuted for cultivating, possessing and using small amounts of dagga for private purposes. But what are the consequences for the workplace?
Can employees escape the consequences of their actions by resigning with immediate effect? There has been uncertainty about an employer’s right to proceed with disciplinary action after an employee’s resignation ‘with immediate effect’ but a judgement of the Labour Court in Cape Town has brought about much needed clarity.
When the CCMA makes an award for the reinstatement of an employee who has been unfairly dismissed or suspended, it seldom goes down well. But what happens if the employer ignores the award?
Employers must exercise their disciplinary powers in a consistent manner. The primary reason for requiring employers to act consistently when instituting disciplinary action or meting out disciplinary sanctions, is to ensure that they do not act arbitrarily. In other words, like cases must be treated alike.
South Africans were expecting that a national minimum wage (NMW) would be implemented on 1 May 2018. This did not happen, but the NMW is still likely to be implemented during the course of this year. We can also expect some other changes to labour legislation. How will this affect employers and employees?