Labour Laws – What South African Workers and Employers of Employment Agencies Should Know

2018 has certainly been a very productive and busy year for labour law so far. An incredible number of proposed amendments have been attributed to existing employment laws, while there is still room for possible additions of new laws and regulations. You don’t even need to search far and wide to come up with some interesting examples of what have made 2018 such a break through year for labour legislation.

Some of the biggest changes to have occurred in 2018 so far include the National Minimum Wage Bill, the Labour Laws Amendment Bill and several proposed amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. When working with an employment agency, or making allowances for the changes in your own HR department, it’s necessary to understand the constant evolution of labour legislation in South Africa. Let’s break down some of the biggest changes, and how they’ll affect South African employers and workers.

Parental Leave, Employees and Employment Agencies

The new Labour Laws Amendment Bill is legislation looking to introduce parental leave not only for the actual birth of a child, but also for new parents who make use of the services of a surrogate, or who choose to adopt a child. What’s more, Family Responsibility Leave for the birth of a child is also removed under this legislation, which normally applies to the father, or the non-child bearing parent in a same-sex relationship.

Instead, parents receive 10 consecutive days of parental leave when an employee’s child is adopted or born. Under the amendment, employees whose adoptive children are under 24 months, or those commissioning parents in a surrogacy agreement, are also entitled to 10 consecutive weeks’ leave. In the case of two adoptive parents, one parent will be entitled to 10 weeks leave, while the other only to 10 consecutive days’ leave.

The Minimum Wage and Basic Conditions of Employment Act

At present, the current focus is on the National Minimum Wage Bill and the proposed amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Keep in mind, however, that amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act chiefly focuses on the National Minimum Wage Bill. It is a bill that will have direct impact on every employer in South Africa.

Some of the biggest changes are set to include:

• Employers will be fined for not paying employees in accordance with the National Minimum Wage Bill;
• Employees earning below the minimum earnings threshold of R205,443.30 per year will be able to refer disputes relating to non-payment of wages to the CCMA. Employees who earn above the minimum threshold will maintain their right to approach the Civil or Labour Courts to dispute non-payment of wages;
• A new section has been added providing employees who work less than four hours a day to be paid no less than four hours on that day. An exemption to this Section would be employees who work less than 24 hours a month for an employer.

Greater Power of the CCMA

An interesting addition to the Minimum Wage and Basic Conditions of Employment Act is that the CCMA has also been given wider jurisdiction with regards to labour inspectors, and the enforcement of compliance orders. This is in an effort to have disputes resolved faster than if the disputes were referred to the labour court.

At FHH Consultants and our employment agency, we make it our business to stay on top of the latest laws and regulations impacting the labour market in South Africa, so our clients don’t have to. Turn to us for expertise in every aspect of recruitment, and let us help you build the strong team your business needs to take it into the future. Our team is ready to help you attract the top talent in your industry, and we look forward to working with you.