Employment – start out right

Every employer’s workplace is unique and business should be run with growth, profitability and success in mind – get the basics right. This goal can only be achieved if the employer appoints the right employee. The employment relationship is based on mutual respect and trust. It is vital to have a written employment contract in place. The employment contract is the most important document in the workplace and defines the terms and conditions as agreed upon between the parties and regulates their relationship. The employer should take care that the contract complies with all applicable labour legislation depending on the specific industry.

Written particulars of employment

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act stipulates that at the start of employment, employers must provide an employee with “Written Particulars of Employment” containing the following information:


  • Employer and employee details – the employer’s full name and address as well as the employee’s name and occupation or a brief description of the work
  • Employment details – place/s of work, starting date, working hours and days of work
  • Payment details – salary/wage or the rate and method of calculating wages, rate for overtime, any other cash payments, any payments in kind and their value, frequency of payment and any deductions
  • Leave details – any leave to which the employee is entitled
  • Notice period required for termination of the employment contract
  • Contract period of the employment contract – is the position of a permanent/indefinite nature; or is the position of a temporary nature, for a specific time period or for a specific project? Employers must clearly understand that to disguise what is actually permanent employment in the form of a fixed term contract is illegal.
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What is the purpose of an employee’s probation period?

The purpose of a probation period is to give the employer the opportunity to evaluate the employee’s experience and performance. It is important to pre-determine probation periods. Labour legislation does not provide guidelines regarding the length of a probation period, but the said period must be reasonable with regards to the duties and tasks to be performed.

How does an employer ensure productivity in the workplace?

There must be a clear operational standard in the workplace in terms of quantity and quality against which performance can be measured. This standard is set by the employer and must be clearly communicated with the employee. Make sure that every employee has a job description and that clear goals are linked to specific tasks.



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