Policies and procedures
What is a policy?
A policy informs employees of the rule/s in respect of a certain topic. The employer puts these rules in place in order to ensure the smooth and efficient running of his/her business operations. Policies are not underwritten by labour legislation, but define the employer’s own rules, which must be reasonable, for the workplace. We strongly advise employers to implement the following policies in the workplace:
Code of conduct
Sick leave policy
Cell phone policy
A cell phone policy regulates the use of cell phones in the workplace to ensure a safe and productive environment. This policy can limit private as well as company cell phone use.
These policies are often used to pro-actively manage labour risk. Other policies include a sexual harassment policy, an internet and e-mail policy, a hygiene policy, etc. The employer can amend policies when necessary. It is vital to ensure that employees are informed of these policies, as well as any changes made to the policies, preferably in writing.
Policies and procedures are a proactive way to minimise the employer’s risk when it comes to Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) matters. A Commissioner at the CCMA will always enquire:
- Was there a rule in the workplace?
- Is there proof that the employee was aware of this rule?
- Did the employee act according to the rule?
- Was there progressive warnings (according to the offence)
What is a procedure?
We strongly advise employers to implement the following procedures in the workplace:
The disciplinary code serves as a guideline for employers of what the appropriate sanction is for certain offences. These sanctions may be adjusted depending on the circumstances and merits of each case. Progressive discipline plays a vital role here and should be applied, e.g. in the case of reporting late for duty:
- First offence: written warning
- Second offence: serious written warning
- Third offence: final written warning
- Fourth offence: dismissal
Keep in mind that the degree of sanction will differ depending on the nature of the employee’s duties. It is very important to note that an employee cannot be dismissed under any circumstances without holding a disciplinary hearing. Offences that are common cause and/or cause disturbance within the workplace do not have to be included in the code of conduct, but are listed on the disciplinary code. These offences may include but is not limited to theft, fraud, offences related to sexual harassment as well as participation in unprotected strike action.
How do I implement these policies and procedures?
When a new employee is appointed, policies and procedures are implemented together with his/her employment contract. When employees are already employed, policies and procedures can be implemented in various ways:
- Have a meeting with all the employees to discuss the policy or procedure. Take note to complete a signed attendance register to prove that employees are aware of the policy or procedure.
- Circulate the policy or procedure via e-mail or per hand – take note to have proof of receipt.
- Display the policy or procedure on a communal notice board accessible to all employees, e.g. in a canteen, changing rooms, etc. where employees are sure to see it.
It is important that the employer must be able to prove that the employees are aware of the policy or procedure.
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