Category Archives: General Terms and Conditions

Types of Employment Policies & Procedures

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.

Contracts of employment are a legal requirement

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.

Effect of the Recent Amendments to the Labour Relations Act

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:

Smoking policy

Medical tests have proven that by being a second-hand smoker (or passive smoker) you run the risk of getting lung cancer or heart related diseases, just as much as the active smoker, simply by inhaling the cigarette smoke. Tests have also indicated that tobacco smoke causes migraine and asthma attacks amongst both the active and passive smoker. Consequently, the National Department of Health has placed a duty on all employers to provide (as far as practically possible) a safe and healthy environment to all their employees.

Sexual harassment policy

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.

Agreeing to a penalty interest

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.

Insist on a medical certificate

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:

Domestic Workers’ Sector

Overview of the Sectoral Determination 7: Domestic Workers Sector 

Employment Contracts

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.

Dealing with Incapacity

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!

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Contracts and Agreements

These are the criteria that must be met for a written contract to be legally valid

Written Contracts, Agreements & Legal Documents

There was a time when people did business on a hand-shake. And if they encountered any problems, they’d take the dispute to court, and the court would decide on the matter. These days, most people prefer to enter into a written contract. With some exceptions, verbal agreements are still valid and can be upheld. But having a contract in writing lends certainty to what the parties have agreed. If something goes wrong, a properly written contract can protect both parties.