employment articles

A Review of Labour Law in 2014 – No Good News for Employers
Monday, February 23, 2015 14:11:00

2014 must rank as one of the worst years for employers in terms of developments in Labour Legislation and Labour Law. The ability to hire employees on a flexible basis was substantially diminished, the ability to outsource to save costs was reduced, hiring employees was made more difficult, the cost of employing employees was potentially substantially increased and firing employees became substantially more difficult and costly. If Labour flexibility and ease of hiring and firing are hallmarks of an attractive investment destination the legislature and courts did little to improve South Africa’s attractiveness. The Legislature passed a number of amendments to the Labour Relations Act (“the LRA”) to deal with what is termed “atypical labour”. The Legislature went further than merely curtailing abuses of atypical employment relationships.
Compensation in Unfair Discrimination Cases
Tuesday, October 28, 2014 14:03:00

In South African Airways (Pty) Ltd v GJJVV [2014] 8 BLLR 748 (LAC) an airline pilot, Van Vuuren, reached the retirement age of 60 on 5 August 2005. At the same time a collective agreement with the union was being negotiated in terms of which the retirement age would be increased to 63. Agreement on the increased retirement age of 63 was in fact reached on 19 August, but the collective agreement was only signed in November 2005. While the collective agreement was being finalised Van Vuuren was asked to remain at home on standby. When he resumed his duties in December 2005 he received a reduced salary that was lower than that of his younger colleagues who performed the same work.
Traditional healer ‘certificates’ for sick leave
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 14:56:00

If a person chooses to visit an alternative medical practitioner like a traditional healer for health-related ailments and is consequently absent from work, is an employer obliged to accept a sick note produced by the alternative medicine practitioner? In the case of Kievits Kroon Country Estate (Pty) Ltd v Mmoledi and Others (875/12) [2013] ZASCA 189 the Supreme Court of Appeal (SCA) had to answer the question of whether a traditional healer’s certificate can be equated to a medical certificate for the purposes of sick leave.
Annual Leave: Take it or lose it
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 14:49:00

A recent Labour Court ruling has helped to remove uncertainty as to whether statutory annual leave that is not taken is forfeited. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (the BCEA) provides that employees are entitled to a minimum of 21 consecutive days’ annual leave for every leave cycle of 12 months’ continued employment. This works out to approximately 15 working days of leave a year for employees who work a five-day week, and 18 working days’ annual leave for those who work a six-day week.
Youth wage subsidy a delicate balancing act
Wednesday, August 06, 2014 14:46:39

The Employment Tax Incentives Act, 2013 (EITA), was signed into law on 18 December 2013 as one of government’s responses to the persistently high rate of youth unemployment. The EITA seeks to encourage the employment of younger workers by allowing a reduction in the mandatory pay as you earn tax (PAYE) that is payable by employers to the South African Revenue Service (SARS), in respect of employees who qualify in terms of the Act. The EITA has, however, not been without controversy. Critics have expressed concern about the temptation created for employers to give preference to younger workers over older workers in order to gain the tax benefit. The Act does, however, seek to address this concern.
Tinkering with the labour market: amendments to the lra now imminent
Friday, January 10, 2014 14:46:56

The Bill proposing amendments to the Labour Relations Act (LRA) was finally tabled in Parliament on 20 June 2013. The amendments have changed substantially over the course of the long journey since a draft was published for comment in December 2010. While the sharpest controversy has been reserved for proposals to restrict the use of labour brokers, there has been much public debate over provisions aimed at reducing strike violence and easing majority union powers to control the organizational rights of other unions.
Question and Answer with Rosemary Hunter
Friday, January 10, 2014 14:43:00

The South African National Treasury recently released for public comment a policy discussion paper addressing retirement fund costs and which indicates that these are amongst the highest in the world. This, according to the policy document, is problematic since costs erode the retirement benefits of hard working South Africans. This is happening in an already precarious landscape, says the Treasury, with only half of the formally employed participating, and low balances partly due to lack of preservation when members switch employment. In order to deal with this state of affairs, the National Treasury proposed several broad reforms to the retirement funding industry. Some of these proposed changes are legislative, others not.
Legislative soap opera introduces a changing labour landscape
Friday, January 10, 2014 14:34:00

Much has been written about the proposed amendments to the Labour Relation Act, 1995 (“lra”) relating to atypical working arrangements. At times, the passage of these provisions has taken on the characteristics of a legislative soap opera, with last minute twists and turns. Despite the six-month exemption period initially agreed on in National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac), the most recent (and likely final) version of the Labour Relations Amendment Bill (the Bill) tabled before Parliament provides that three months after the amendments to the lra come into effect, a temporary employment service (TES) employee who earns on or below the threshold prescribed by the Minster of Labour from time to time (currently zar193 805.00 a year ) will be deemed to be the employee of the client if they perform work for the client for a period in excess of three months.
Is A Travel Allowance A Benefit As Contemplated Under The Labour Relations Act 66 Of 1995
Friday, August 23, 2013 09:37:00

There has been some debate in our law over recent years where the CCMA and the Labour Court has had to consider whether various allowances such as a travel allowance or an acting allowance constitute a benefit as contemplated in s186 (2)(a) of the LRA. The question whether a travel allowance constitutes a benefit in terms of s186 (2)(a) of the LRA goes to the jurisdiction of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (the CCMA) to hear unfair labour practice disputes.
The employee benefit consequences of cross-border secondments
Tuesday, July 16, 2013 12:42:04

As companies expand their operations into Africa, demand to reallocate resources, including skilled employees, to foreign operations continues to grow. Cross-border secondments provide companies with access to the skills and expertise they require and also provide an opportunity for a transfer of skills to take place. Secondments of this nature are not only beneficial to companies but are also an incentive for employees seeking to broaden their skills set while exploring other jurisdictions.
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In association with Bowman Gilfillan Africa GroupMember of Lex MundiMember of Employment Law Alliance