The employment contract can come to an end when the employee resigns, reaches retirement age, is dismissed or is retrenched. Depending on the circumstances, the employer has the following obligation towards the ex-employee:
Labour law applies to all employers and employees and aims to regulate labour relations. As a result, this ensures that fairness and reasonableness prevails in the workplace. Standard procedures, clear rules and guidelines in the workplace ensure that every individual knows what is expected from him/her. Consequently, this promotes proper communication between the employee and the employer. A common misconception in the workplace is that the employees are entitled to an annual bonus and increases. Read more
Restraint of trade clauses in employment contracts cause many arguments in the legal fraternity and amongst employers and employees, as there are no hard and fast rules to settle these disputes. Labour Law do not regulate restraint of trade agreements. Factors such as different industries, assets and trade secrets will determine the contract of such agreements.
When an employee enters into an employment agreement, the last thing on his mind is the ending of an employment relationship. One of an employers’ priorities is to protect his/her intellectual property, trade secrets, reputation and good will. Read more
A common misconception is that an employee is entitled to paid sick leave to attend a clinic visit to obtain medication. An employee is only entitled to sick leave when he/she is unfit for work. This is usually as a result of a medical condition.
The employer is not expected to remunerate the employee when he/she requests time off to visit the clinic to obtain medication. This also complies in cases of routine visits to the clinic or doctor. When the employer does grant paid sick leave in these instances, it is solely at the employer’s discretion. It can be viewed as an additional benefit. The employer should however take care to act consistently in granting benefits towards all employees.
Employees must take note that the misuse of sick leave is a disciplinary offence. Also, the offence could lead to dismissal due to an irreparable breach in the trust relationship between the employer and the employee. In the event there is a breach in trust between the employer and the employee the employment relationship cannot continue.
Employers are under the impression that persons who receive old age pension are not allowed to work, or that they forfeit UIF benefits if they do. There are certain specification to receiving certain grants.
Any person, irrespective of age, can be registered as a work seeker, even while receiving old age pension. All employees are entitled to UIF benefits, if they make the statutory contributions. However, a person cannot claim UIF and receive the grant at the same time.
Although employers are under no obligation to transport farm workers, many farmers do provide transport. Farm workers can find it difficult to get to work because of the remote location of the farm, the lack of public transport, or the level of poverty in the rural area.
On 11 May 2017 it became illegal to transport school children in the goods compartment of any vehicle (for example the back of a bakkie). This is mainly seen as a big stride in the right direction with regards to the safety of our children on public roads. According to Regulation 50 of the National Road Traffic Regulations, no person is allowed to transport any other person in the goods compartment (back of bakkie/trailer) of a motor vehicle for reward. However there is good news for farmers who transport their employees. This regulation does not apply to a vehicle that complies with the provisions of the National Land Transport Act.
Maintaining discipline in the workplace is vital to maintain productivity, as well as a positive working environment. Just as an employee has certain rights, the employer has the right to take disciplinary action against an employee who is in contravention of the employer’s rules, policies or procedures. It is however the employer’s responsibility to take action and enforce discipline.
When it comes to taking disciplinary action, the focus is on progressive discipline. Progressive discipline aims to take reasonable steps in order to change or correct the behavior of employees, through the systematical issuing of warnings, as well as holding consultations.
The issuing of warnings in the workplace must be in line with the employer’s disciplinary code. A disciplinary code is vital to ensure that there are clear rules and procedures in the workplace to be followed by employees. Ensure that your disciplinary code is relevant and up to date regarding offences and appropriate sanctions. Also ensure that all employees are aware of what the disciplinary code entails. Warnings can range from verbal to a written, serious written and a final written warning and must be fair, as well as in line with the seriousness of the offence.
Clear rules and guidelines is the foundation of any productive and well functioning workplace. As a result there will be less friction and misunderstanding in the workplace. It is extremely important that the employees are aware of and understand the employer’s rules and guidelines.
The South African labour market is rightly regarded as highly regulated. This view is affirmed in the World Economic Forum’s Global Competitiveness Report of 2016/2017. The most problematic factor for doing business in South Africa in general, is the restrictive labour relations.
The report rates South Africa as follows:
It is clearly crucial for every employer to continuously comply with labour legislation.
Discipline is the foundation on which any workplace functions. Enforcing discipline properly will result in more productive and less troubling circumstances in the workplace. An employer cannot dismiss an employee under any circumstances, even with valid reason, without holding a disciplinary hearing. This will ensure that a fair procedure is followed and that there is substantive reason (proof) for the employee to be dismissed.
The following legislation regulates labour relations in South Africa in general: