Category Archives: Company Matters

Xmas Bonus Agreements Online August wk 3

The Christmas Bonus

Yes. Yes, we are talking Christmas in August. And for good reason.

Every year we emerge from our winter hibernation to find ourselves on a downhill slope towards Christmas. And pretty soon it’s December and we’re all spending way too much money. Of course, someone has to pay for that holiday at the beach and all the latest tech gadgets for little Joey. Unsurprisingly, this is when many companies find their employees lining up to receive their Christmas bonus. Only to be bitterly disappointed when they discover that they’re not getting the extra payment that they had so eagerly anticipated (and spent already). With the economic constraints of late, many companies are simply finding the payment of a Christmas bonus to be unaffordable. Things can turn sour rather quickly, with staff vehemently asserting that they have a legal right to their annual bonus and threatening the employer with retaliatory action. All this unpleasantness can be avoided if the employer sets the expectations in advance, well before down-payments are made and holidays booked.

AGREEMENTS ONLINE How to register a new company blog

How to register a new company

A brainwave hits you while you’re out one evening with a group of friends, and your idea just pops out your mouth while you’re sipping your second G&T. As it happens, your friends think you’re a genius for coming up with such an innovative concept, and the next thing you know you’re all going into business together. The next morning you wake up with a sore head and a long list of to-do items scrawled on a paper napkin. Topping the list is the registration of a (Pty) Ltd. But do you know how to register a new company? Where on earth do you start? Traditionally you’d find a good accountant who could do it all for you. But the problem with start-ups is that while they’re full of good ideas, they’re generally empty in the finances department. The good news is that you don’t have to be an accountant to know how to register a new company. You can do it yourself online, at a far reduced fee than what an accountant would charge.

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The company bank account and authorised representatives

In days gone by, the company’s bank account was handled very differently. Back then, when a company was formed the bank manager would personally meet with the owners to open the bank account. The company’s banking transactions would all be done through that specific branch, where all the banking staff would greet by name the owners, the bookkeeper, the secretaries, the messenger and the company employees in general. Anyone authorised to operate on the account would be issued with a closely-guarded cheque book, and every staff member in the bank would know who the authorised signatories were, whether any restrictions applied, and even recognise the signatures at a glance! A banking transaction was more than a press of a button. It involved a protracted discussion with the bank manager about how the kids were doing and whether the weather would improve, during which time a tray of tea would be delivered. Only once the last drop was drunk would they get down to banking business.

Protecting trade secrets

Protecting trade secrets when an employee leaves

How do you protect confidential company information from being used against the company in the event that an employee resigns to join a competitor? So often a company loses an employee… only to have the employee hand over confidential information to their new employee. This can do no end of damage to the ex-employer! There are two ways of handling such a scenario: proactively or reactively.

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Provisions of Section 197 Labour Relations Act – Transfer of contract of employment

Are you thinking about buying a business that has employees? If so, then make sure that you know about and comply with the provisions of the Labour Relations Act. In particular, you need to be aware of section 197 which deals with the transfer of the employment contract from the old employer to the new employer. Section 197 of the Labour Relations Act states the following:

How valid is a Restraint of Trade Agreement?

I signed a restraint of trade when I was employed. Now I want to leave the company. Is my restraint of trade enforceable?” This question is often asked – and usually around the time that the employee has decided to look for another job. Sometimes the question is asked when the employee has taken up a position at another company, often the competitor – and then gets a fright when s/he is faced with legal action based on a restraint s/he had forgotten that s/he had even signed.

Promotion of Access to Information Act Manual – deadline shifted. Again.

Around about 31 December 2015 many a small business owner found themselves on the receiving end of a barrage of mails from consultants and service providers warning them about the Promotion of Access to Information Act and the requirement to lodge a Section 51 Manual. But you needn’t worry yourself too much over their scare-mongering.

Yes, section 51(1) of the Promotion of Access to Information Act provides an obligation on businesses to compile their Information Manuals and lodge them with the Human Rights Commission. But certain businesses were given an extension on the deadline. And when that deadline came about, they were given another extension. And then another…

6 Reasons Why People Start Their Own Businesses

Meet Simone. She’s bright, well-educated, honest and hard-working. She holds down a dream job, earns a fantastic salary, is virtually guaranteed of a healthy performance bonus each year, is frequently showered with accolades…. and she’s just handed in her resignation. Simone’s boss is unable to mask her shock when confronted with the bombshell, and rapidly sharpens her pencil and hauls out her calculator. Whatever the competition’s offering, the company will match it and some. Imagine her surprise when she discovers that Simone – her star employee – will be earning…. nothing. At least, not until her new business venture is off the ground and making money. What drives a person to leave a stable job and guaranteed salary for the instability of self-employment and zero guarantee of an income? Let’s face it. Starting your own business requires money, many (many!) hours of hard work, the patience of a saint and a positive attitude even in the face of adversity. Not to mention a healthy dose of realism, understanding that you may not be seeing much of an income for the first year or more, and may well face closure before then if the stats are anything to go by. According to Fin 24, small business failure rates are as high as 63% in the first two years of trading! Yet people still start their own businesses on a regular basis. Why do people choose to start up their own companies? What drives an entrepreneur to do what they do? Are they born, or are they a product of circumstance?

Business Ethics: A Contradiction in Terms? Part III

In Part I and Part II we addressed a breed of dangerous delinquents that we term “The Undesirables”. And whilst they may well be undesirable, this hasn’t stopped them from invading our society at whim in their quest to feather their own nests. In an attempt to curb this onslaught, we suggested that enterprises face the challenge head-on, by:

  • Giving serious thought to, and publicly advertising their mission, vision and values statements, clarifying the Company’s guiding principles; and
  • Further exploring and clarifying their ethical compass in the form of a Business Ethics Policy, succinctly setting out the line the Company will not cross in its corporate pursuits.

We now turn our attention to that most alarming calamity, arguably one of the biggest man-made disasters ever to face our beloved country. Corruption.

Business Ethics: A Contradiction in Terms? Part II

Previously, we unveiled a species of person that we refer to as “The Undesirables”. If you missed it, click here to catch up.

The Undesirables comprise a category of person found to be lacking in moral fibre. They are consequently willing to engage in activities that are otherwise contrary to society’s generally accepted norms and conventions. This type of person is willing to traverse moral, ethical and legal boundaries in their pursuit of self-interests.