Uncovering the Lesser-Known Provisions of the Labour Relations Act

Labour Relations Act

DID YOU KNOW: where a fixed-term contract worker earns below R 205 433.30 per year (as at date of writing), s/he may only be employed on a fixed-term for longer than three months if the work is of a limited or definite duration or the employer can illustrate any other justifiable reason.

DID YOU KNOW: an offer to employ a person on a fixed term contract or to renew or extend a fixed term contract must be in writing and state the reasons why work is of a limited or definite duration, or the employer must be able to illustrate any other justifiable reason.

DID YOU KNOW: the conclusion of a temporary, fixed term contract will only be justified if the employee:

  • is replacing another employee who is temporarily absent from work;
  • is employed on account of a temporary increase in the volume of work which is not expected to endure beyond 12 months;
  • is a student or recent graduate who is employed for the purpose of being trained or gaining work experience in order to enter a job or profession;
  • is employed to work exclusively on a specific project that has a limited or defined duration;
  • is a non-citizen who has been granted a work permit for a defined period;
  • is employed to perform seasonal work;
  • is employed for the purpose of an official public works scheme or similar public job creation scheme;
  • is employed in a position which is funded by an external source for a limited period; or
  • has reached the normal agreement retirement age application in the employer’s business.

DID YOU KNOW: an employee employed in terms of a fixed-term contract of employment for longer than 3 months must not be treated less favourably than an employee employed on a permanent basis performing the same or similar work, unless there is a justifiable reason for different treatment.

DID YOU KNOW: an employer who employs a person in terms of a fixed term employment contract for a period exceeding 24 months must, subject to the terms of any applicable collective agreement, pay the employee on expiry of the contract at a rate of 1 week’s remuneration for each completed year of the contract.

DID YOU KNOW: taking into account the working hours of a part time employee, irrespective of when the part-time employee was employed, an employer must:

  • treat a part time employee on the whole not less favourably than a comparable full-time employee doing the same or similar work, unless there is a justifiable reason for different treatment; and
  • provide a part-time employee with access to training and skills development on the whole not less favourable than the access applicable to a comparable full-time employee.

DID YOU KNOW: an employer is prevented from dismissing a number of employees on genuine operational grounds where the employees refused to accept a demand in respect of any matter of mutual interest, e.g. an employer decides to change its medical aid regime and service provider, perhaps because it can no longer afford its current regime. It employs 1,000 employees. The new service provider requires all 1,000 employees to sign up. 995 employees accept the change, five do not.

An employer is not entitled to dismiss the five dissenters on operational grounds and the implementation of such a new scheme would not be possible.

DID YOU KNOW: the CCMA can now provide for picketing rules permitting picketing on premises NOT owned or controlled by the employer, provided the occupant of such premises has had an opportunity to make representations to the CCMA before such rules are established.

DID YOU KNOW: consulting parties may not unreasonably refuse to extend the period for consultation if such an extension is required to ensure meaningful consultation. This means that any consultation period can now be considerably further extended.

Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.