Labour legislation sets strict requirements that employers must comply with. Compliance is non-negotiable and poses a business risk to the employer. A thorough labour audit aligns the work environment with applicable labour legislation, but in order to maintain this state of affairs, it is necessary for the employer to review certain aspects on a regular basis.
- Communication and regular consultation
Effective communication is critical to the success of any business. It contributes to creating an environment with clear rules and expectations, and proactively addresses misunderstandings, unhappiness and friction in the workplace. A positive work environment is one of the factors that cultivates productivity, which directly impacts the business’s profitability and sustainability. It is important that there is a platform through which both the employer and employees can engage in discussions, give input, provide feedback, raise unhappiness, etc. Communication on a regular basis is important to promote harmony in the workplace.
- Attendance register
Labour legislation requires the employer to maintain an attendance register on a daily basis in respect of each employee. During an inspection by the Department of Employment and Labour, this register is checked by the inspector. Make sure it is kept up to date with respect to all hours worked.
Labour law documentation must be reviewed on a regular basis to ensure that it complies with applicable labour legislation, as well as remains relevant in terms of the business’s operational requirements. This documentation specifically refers to:
- Employment contracts
The employment contract is the basis of the relationship between the employer and the employee and confirms in writing the terms and conditions of employment agreed upon. It is extremely important that the employer implements the right type of employment contract (permanent or fixed term) and ensures that its content complies with applicable labour legislation.
Check the employment contracts to determine if any changes need to be made. Note that unilateral amendments constitutes unfair labour practices and pose a significant risk to the employer. Obtain the employee’s written consent to avoid unilateral changes of terms and conditions.
- Disciplinary code, policies and procedures
Every workplace is unique and there is often a need for specific rules to give order and structure to the workplace. Review these rules, including policies and procedures, from time to time to ensure they are still relevant. It is important that the workplace’s disciplinary code is up to date in terms of violations and sanctions. Progressive discipline must also be applied continuously. If any changes are made, it is essential to notify the employee.
Employers need to keep their finger on the pulse. Labour law is a specialist field and expert advice is essential to limit risk. Labour relations is an emotional environment and an impartial third party can add great value, especially with the enforcing of discipline or with processes such as poor work performance, restructuring, retrenchment, trade union negotiations etc. LWO membership offers employers 24/7 expert advice.
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If you are an employer it just makes sense to join the LWO. Get unlimited access to our legal department (specialised only in labour law) and make sure you comply with labour law. Did you know you can use labour law to protect your rights as the employer? All labour law advice and documentation are unlimited and free to all our members.
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