Employment Policies and Procedures are necessary for the business owner to establish company rules and procedures and to ensure that their employees fully understand their rights, obligations and the necessary steps to take in various employment-related situations. After reading and signing an Employment Contract that references the employer’s policies & procedures, the employee becomes bound to abide by the Employment Policies and rules of the employer. A company’s Employment Policies must comply with South African labour law, and must not violate the employees’ rights. However, they are enforceable if drafted and implemented correctly, and form a useful tool in protecting the interests of the company.
Are your contracts, agreements, forms and documents all in order? In the course of our dealings with businesses, we have often come across instances where an employer has appointed staff without a proper letter of appointment or Employment Contract. Or they can’t find the employee’s written terms of employment when they are asked to produce them. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act states that an employer must provide all employees with the terms and conditions of their employment in writing. This document can be in the form of a letter of appointment, or it can be a more formal Contract of Employment. What is important is the content of this letter or employment contract, agreement or document. The contents also need to be explained to the newly-appointed employee to ensure that he or she understands what is expected.
After the recent amendments to the Labour Relations Act, certain temporary and fixed term employees, including labour broker employees, may now be deemed to be permanent employees. The Labour Relations Amendment Act has increased the protection afforded to labour broker employees and temporary employees employed under fixed term and part-time contracts. The effect of these amendments is that:
Sexual harassment can be defined as the unwanted or unacceptable conduct of sexual nature that can be regarded as offensive, humiliating or intimidating and could have a negative impact on the work environment. A Sexual Harassment Policy acknowledges the right of all employees, customers, clients or suppliers to work in an environment free from sexual harassment.
Charging or paying interest on outstanding debts can be perplexing. We often get legal advice from friends who aren’t lawyers, which leads us to believe that the way we are doing our business is the right way. Here’s what you need to know when you charge or agree to interest:
If your debtor is in default, interest can be claimed from the date of demand (if there is no penalty interest agreement), or from the date the payment became due (if there is an agreement to pay penalty interest). Compound interest can only be claimed if there is an agreement for compound interest. If there is no agreement, then only simple interest can be claimed.
When must a medical certificate be produced by an employee? Can an employer refuse to pay an employee who has been off sick?
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act states that an employer is not required to pay an employee if the employee:
- has been absent from work for more than two consecutive days or on more than two occasions during an eight-week period; and
- on request by the employer, does not produce a medical certificate stating that the employee was unable to work for the duration of the employee’s absence on account of sickness or injury.
There are also certain requirements that a Medical Certificate needs to meet. The Certificate must be legible, and must contain the following information:
What to include in an Employment Contract
When you are the owner of a company, your main goal is to conduct your business in a manner that will acquire a good reputation over time and bring in profits that will give the business a life of its own. For this to happen, a business requires the involvement of others. Most importantly, the company will need employees who vest their time and energy for your business. Employment Contracts form the written proof of their commitment, and in the long run they benefit all the parties involved.
Hiring a Sub-Contractor? Have a Legal Agreement in Place
Often when a contractor or consultant wins a business deal, they hire a sub-contractor to do part of or all the work at an agreed fee. When hiring a subcontractor, it is important to have a legal terms & conditions, in the form of a Sub-Contractor Agreement, which both of you can sign before the work begins. This is a legally binding agreement, which should be drafted by a lawyer. An effective subcontractor agreement outlines the terms of the contract, which include the specific work to be done, fees charged and payment.
Overview of the Sectoral Determination 7: Domestic Workers Sector
People who employ domestic workers (cleaners, housekeepers, helpers, care-givers, gardeners) are required to register them with UIF and must have a proper Employment Contract with them. A copy of the contract of employment must be kept for a period of three years after the domestic worker has left the service of employment. If the domestic worker refuses to sign the contract of employment, it does not mean the contract of employment is invalid. A refusal to sign should be noted on the contract, and a witness should sign that the document was handed to the employee. It is the employee’s right to have the contract of employment explained point by point and to understand what it contains.
With the fierce competitiveness facing most industries today, your business cannot afford to turn a blind eye to employees that simply aren’t performing. In addition to the direct expenses of having a poor performer on your payroll, there are also the hidden costs of correcting their mistakes, dealing with customer complaints, and the additional time needed to performance manage the employee. It is possible to dismiss an employee for incapacity. But if you would prefer to avoid the CCMA, this must be done very, very carefully!