Clear rules and guidelines in the workplace
Where does South Africa stand?
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:
- 135th out of 138 countries in terms of hiring and firing practices.
- 98th out of 138 countries in terms of pay and productivity.
- 138th out of 138 countries in terms of cooperation in labour-employer relations.
It is clearly crucial for every employer to continuously comply with labour legislation.
Clear rules and guidelines
Friction and misunderstandings in the workplace can be kept to an minimum by enforcing clear rules and guidelines. This will in turn promote not only productivity but also a positive working environment. The employer must therefore have clear rules and guidelines in the workplace. The employer must also ensure that every employee is aware of and understand these rules and guidelines.
Employers must have a disciplinary code that lists offences with the appropriate sanctions to use when rules and procedures are not followed. There are different types of misconduct in the workplace, ranging from minor to more serious offences. The employee’s type of work and responsibilities and (possible) consequences of the offence will influence the seriousness of the offence. The employer must also consider how the employee-employer trust relationship is influenced by the offence. It is important to differentiate between offences due to negligence or with intent. The cause of the offence has a definite impact on the seriousness of the offence and must therefor be identified and investigated.
An employer cannot dismiss and employee under any circumstances, even with valid reason, without holding a disciplinary hearing. This is needed to ensure that a fair procedure is followed and that there is substantive reason (proof) for the employee to be dismissed.
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