Although changes to Labour Law were already implemented at the beginning of 2015, it maybe time just to refresh our memories. A few amendments took place which may have changed the way we look at employment contracts and the way we terminate an employment. Also some sections in terms of Collective Labour Law, which need to be noted.
Employers need to be fully aware of the changes to prevent any future surprises.
Changes in terms of the Labour Relations Amendment Act, act 6 of 2014:
– Section 187(1)(c)
The wording of the sub section (1) (c) was changed to read, “a refusal by employees to accept a demand in respect of any matter of mutual interest between them and their employer.”
This will influence and affect retrenchments where an alternative to retrenchment was offered and employees refused.
It will also be difficult when terms and conditions of employment is to be amended in order to restructure.
– Section 186 – fixed term contracts
Additional protection is extended to employees earning below the threshold prescribed from time to time by the Minister in terms of s6(3) of the BCEA. (Currently set at R 205 433.30 p a)
Prior to the amendments, the employee needs to prove an expectation of renewal of a fixed term contract on the same or similar terms.
The new amendments now introduce an expectation of permanent employment. Where the employee is able to prove a reasonable expectation of renewal on a permanent basis, the employee may be appointed permanently.
– Section 198B
Employees earning below the threshold, may only be employed on a fixed term contract for a period of 3 months. It may only exceed the period of 3 months, if the nature of the work for which the employee is engaged, is for a limited or definite period, a for specific contract with a client, or for a specific project.
The burden will be on the employer to proof that the employee was made aware at the outset of the employment relationship of such terms and conditions. (Just another reason to make sure written contracts are in place and explained from day one!)
– 198 – Non -Standard Employment
Due to the drastic amendments in terms of the employment relationship of a Temporary Employment Services, also known as TES, it needs much more than just a summary, and will be dealt with at a later stage.
What is at this stage most important is that an employee of your TES may now institute proceedings of unfair labour practice or dismissal against you as client of the TES, OR, against the TES. Don’t be surprise to be called to the CCMA for an employee that isn’t even on your payroll.
– Section 143- Enforcements of Arbitration Awards
A writ will no longer be needed to enforce payment of monies. The CCMA may certify the award and present it to the Deputy-Sheriff for execution.
– Section 145 – Review applications
The institution of Review proceedings no longer suspends the operation of an arbitration award, unless the applicant furnishes security to the satisfaction of the Court. In the case of re-instatement or re-employment, security must cover 24 months’ remuneration. For compensation, the amount equivalent to the amount of compensation ordered.
– Section 21 – Collective Labour Law
The amendment to this section will now grant minority unions, subject to meeting certain requirements, at least some rights. This was done to lessen the need for industrial action.
A CCMA Commissioner now has a discretion, provided that the minority union is sufficiently represented.
– Section 32- Extension of Collective Agreements
Before the amendments, the Minister had a discretion, taking into account a number of other factors.
Now the Minister is obliged to publish a notice in the Gazette within 60 days after receipt of a request by the Bargaining Council, and calling for comments within 21 days. Thereafter, may it extend from a specific date for a specific period.
– Section 69 – Picketing rules
The amendment now provides that employees have the right to picket at a place controlled by someone other than the employer, provided that person has a say in the establishment of the picketing rules. Even to a third party where property belongs to a third party. The owner has to consent, but should he refuse, the CCMA may grant such right. The owner still has to be given the opportunity to make representation.
Article by: Maretha van Rooyen
Dispute Resolution Official – Durban