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Thread: Dismissals & the new labour laws

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    Silver Member Greig Whitton's Avatar
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    Dismissals & the new labour laws

    I am organising a webinar for my clients next week that will be co-facilitated by Kirstin van Bever Donker from Maserumule Inc Attorneys. We will be discussing the impact that the amended Labour Relations Act will have on dismissals, including:

    • Firing someone where no employment contract exists.
    • Dismissing high income employees.
    • Terminating temporary employees to avoid "deemed employment".
    • The non-renewal of fixed term employment contracts.
    • Terminating "indefinite" fixed term employment contracts.

    I would love to include any questions that Forum SA users may have as points of discussion for the workshop, so kindly post any queries that you may have in this thread (obviously I will post answers after the webinar, which is scheduled for 15:30 on Thursday, April 24).

    We will also spend some time discussing dismissal best practice more generally, so you are welcome to post any dismissal-related questions (they don't have to be specific to the implications of the new Labour Relations Act).

    Founder of Evergrow - Helping South African business owners grow their business without the growing pains

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    Site Caretaker Dave A's Avatar
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    I've got a question in respect of "casual" employees.

    If there is a pool of employees that are employed on an irregular basis - anywhere between 0 and 4 days a week (based on operational requirements), and paid per day worked - is there a point where they would be deemed permanent employees despite the irregular day-to-day nature of their employment?
    The trouble with opportunity is it normally comes dressed up as work.

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    Bronze Member Alice Rain's Avatar
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    I would still like to know why there is a Labour Department and the CCMA for that matter. I think it's over a year now and I they can still not assist me in getting that ONE piece of darn paper from my ex boss my UIF!!! Another colleague who went the same route as myself with the CCMA, he [the boss] actually finally pitched up at the last hearing which I won - not to much avail, however my colleague now, he [the boss] has not pitched up for any of her hearings and SHE MUST PAY the sheriff R1,500 to go to the premises. I thought it would be for them to do this? So many business are taking employees for granted knowing the desperation for the job, and no we never ever got pay slips, in fact I used to type out my own!

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    Silver Member Greig Whitton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Dave A View Post
    I've got a question in respect of "casual" employees.

    If there is a pool of employees that are employed on an irregular basis - anywhere between 0 and 4 days a week (based on operational requirements), and paid per day worked - is there a point where they would be deemed permanent employees despite the irregular day-to-day nature of their employment?
    Really good question, Dave, because it highlights the amended Labour Relations Act's confusing approach to non-permanent employment. Instead of treating everyone who isn't employed on a full time basis equally, the new LRA defines three distinct categories of non-permanent work: temporary employees; fixed term employees; and part time employees. Each of these categories comes with their own rules that impact dismissal, benefit entitlement, and a whole host of other employment factors.

    So where do "casual" employees fit in? Well, that all depends on how they are employed, and this is what will make complying with the new LRA so tricky. From an employer's perspective, someone might be a "casual" employee. But from the LRA's perspective, that same employee might be "temporary", "fixed term", or "part time". Not only will employers need to figure out which categories their non-permanent employees fall into, they will also need to familiarise themselves with the new (and distinct) rules that apply to each category.

    To make an already complicated situation even more obtuse, each category also has its own unique exemption criteria for both employers AND employees. So an employer might be entirely exempt from certain employment rules that apply to a particular category of non-permanent employees, OR they might be exempt from the same rules in respect of a specific employee, OR they might not be exempt at all!

    To answer your question: possibly! I'll be sure to raise it during my webinar next week and post some further thoughts thereafter.

    Founder of Evergrow - Helping South African business owners grow their business without the growing pains

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    Silver Member Greig Whitton's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Alice Rain View Post
    I would still like to know why there is a Labour Department and the CCMA for that matter. I think it's over a year now and I they can still not assist me in getting that ONE piece of darn paper from my ex boss my UIF!!! Another colleague who went the same route as myself with the CCMA, he [the boss] actually finally pitched up at the last hearing which I won - not to much avail, however my colleague now, he [the boss] has not pitched up for any of her hearings and SHE MUST PAY the sheriff R1,500 to go to the premises. I thought it would be for them to do this? So many business are taking employees for granted knowing the desperation for the job, and no we never ever got pay slips, in fact I used to type out my own!
    The only "answer" that I have is an obvious one: like many government bodies, the Department of Labour is not particularly efficient. This isn't helped by the fact that employers can game the system by delaying unfair labour practice awards (and, from an employer's point of view, it doesn't help that our labour laws are hopelessly biased in favour of employees).

    For what it's worth, the new LRA will introduce stiffer penalties as well as provisions to speed up enforcement, so there will be fewer opportunities and incentives for gaming the system.

    Founder of Evergrow - Helping South African business owners grow their business without the growing pains

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    Bronze Member Alice Rain's Avatar
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    thank you Greig

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