South African Employment Laws: Key Updates

Employment Law

Understanding the basics of South African employment laws has always been essential. Due to recent changes, this article will aim to simplify some key trends in South African employment law.

Guidelines for Employers to Prevent Harassment

A fresh set of guidelines has emerged to assist employers in preventing and addressing workplace harassment. Harassment can be seen as any unwelcome behaviour based on factors like race, gender, and age, etc.

The code instructs employers on how to investigate and resolve harassment complaints, mandating the presence of a written anti-harassment policy. Employers are required to take measures to proactively prevent harassment, foster a respectful workplace, and educate everyone about their rights.

The code emphasises the importance of treating harassment complaints seriously, conducting confidential investigations, and safeguarding complainants from retaliation. This new code marks a significant advancement, offering clear guidance to employers in establishing a harassment-free work environment. Non-compliance may lead to legal repercussions and harm a company’s reputation.

The Role of Interdicts in Managing Strikes

In South Africa, strikes frequently entail violence, intimidation, and property damage, reaching high levels of intensity. Employers often resort to obtaining an “interdict” from the Labour Court to halt such actions swiftly. However, this approach comes with challenges, as it may be abused by employers with hidden agendas and has the potential to undermine collective efforts.

A recent ruling by the Constitutional Court emphasised the need for caution when employing interdicts against striking employees. While recognising the significance of addressing misconduct during strikes, the court also highlighted the potential misuse of interdicts by employers, warning against actions that could undermine the collaborative spirit of collective endeavours.

Updates to the Employment Equity Act

The amendment of the Employment Equity Act (EEA) saw a revision of the definition ‘designated employer’. As of 1 September 2023, only employers with 50 or more employees will be considered designated employers for the purposes of affirmative action provisions. Total annual turnover will no longer be a consideration.

For more elaborative information on all the changes read: THE IMPORTANT PRACTICAL IMPLICATIONS OF THE EEA AMENDMENT BILL

Updates to Employee Protection Laws

South Africa’s comprehensive employment laws encompass almost all workers, imposing a requirement for employers to comply with these regulations to ensure the mandated minimum employment conditions. In case of disputes, entities such as the CCMA and the Labour Appeal Court are available to facilitate resolution.

The Labour Relations Act (LRA) addresses matters such as unions, strikes, and dispute resolution, establishing entities like the CCMA to assist in resolving employment disputes. On the other hand, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) focuses on working hours, leave, termination of employment, record-keeping, and child labour. It establishes the baseline standards that employers are required to adhere to.

Staying updated on the latest changes is crucial for both employers and employees to ensure adherence to the law and safeguard their respective rights. For assistance contact SVN Attorneys.

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