Amendment to the Labour Relations Act will come into effect on 01 January 2015
President Jacob Zuma approved the amendment to the Labour Relations Act on 24 November 2014 which will come into effect on 01 January 2015. This Act regulates mainly the rights and obligations of employers, employees, trade unions and employers’ organisations in terms of labour legislation in South Africa.
Herewith the main amendments for your attention:
- Trade union rights
A sufficiently represented trade unions in the workplace’s rights have been extended. Such a trade union can now apply to the CCMA to enjoy the same rights as those of a majority representative trade union. The Commissioner at the CCMA can then after consideration grant these rights. The Commissioner can also determine the minimum threshold for sufficient representation of a trade union in the workplace.
- Appeal against the Registrar of Labour Relations’s decision
The lodging of an appeal against the Registrar of Labour Relations’s decision will no longer suspend the decision. In other words, the decision will remain in effect until a different decision is made, or not.
- Compliance with arbitration awards
When an employer holds an arbitration award issued by the CCMA in contempt by not complying with it, the employee can immediately approach the Labour Court for a further compliance order. Previously the employee had to first approach the CCMA again before he/she could approach the Labour Court. This ‘grace period’ for the employer to comply with an arbitration award falls away.
- Protection of temporary workers’ rights
An employee employed temporarily to provide a service of a permanent nature, will now be seen as a permanent employee after three months. This is not applicable to temporary employees appointed for a specific project or for a specific period, e.g. a replacement for an employee on maternity leave.Employers who specifically make use of a temporary employment service, must take note that these employees will be regarded as your permanent employee after three months and no longer an employee of the temporary employment service.
- Extension of justification grounds for the setting aside of arbitration awards
The aggrieved party can henceforth apply late on grounds of “good cause” for the setting aside of an arbitration award.
- Speeding up the administration of justice regarding the implementation of arbitration awards
When a party lodges a review application against an arbitration award issued by the CCMA, the party must now apply for a court date within six months. The review application no longer suspends the arbitration award.
- Automatic unfair dismissal
It is now considered to be an automatic unfair dismissal when an employee refuses to accept any matter of mutual interest. Previously the employee had to prove the he/she was forced by the employer to accept such a matter.
It is clear that labour legislation as a business risk necessitates expert advice, with which the LWO will gladly assist you.
Please contact us at 0861 101 828 with any queries in this regard, or if you need any legal advice/assistance. We are available 24/7.