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Why you need to stay up to date with Labour Law

Jonathan Goldberg & Grant Wilkinson | Global Business Solutions

We spend the majority of our days at work and labour law has a very significant impact on our working lives. This means that you need to keep up to date with what is happening on the labour law landscape so that you know how the working environment may change.

SIGNIFICANT LABOUR LEGISLATIVE CHANGES
Some of the most important pieces of labour legislation – the Labour Relations Act, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Employment Equity Act – are set to come into law imminently. (The former two, we estimate at the time of writing, by the end of this year and the latter in 2019.) A brand new piece of legislation – the National Minimum Wage Bill – is before President Ramaphosa as we speak.

LABOUR RELATIONS ACT AMENDMENT BILL
Over the past number of years, our country has been characterised by violent strikes. Thus, the proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act aim to eliminate this characteristic. For example, the amendments propose the adoption of a compulsory secret ballot, the formalisation of picketing rules as well as giving the Minister of Labour the ability to intervene in bargaining council funding.

BASIC CONDITIONS OF EMPLOYMENT ACT AMENDMENT BILL
One of the most talked-about proposed changes to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act is the extension of parental leave. Currently, only mothers are permitted to take four months’ maternity leave after the birth of her baby. Once the amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act become law, parental leave will be granted to fathers, adoptive parents and same-sex couples after the birth of a child.

EMPLOYMENT EQUITY AMENDMENT ACT
The Employment Equity Act Amendment Bill introduces more flexibility in terms of the submission of Employment Equity Reports. It also introduces sectoral targets which is a huge change. Amendments to the Employment Equity Regulations are also on the cards with changes to compliance requirements for non-designated employers.

NATIONAL MINIMUM WAGE BILL
Possibly the most hotly debated topic this year is the National Minimum Wage Bill. It was originally set to come in on 1 May this year, however the implementation was postponed owing tovociferous objections by trade unions. It is estimated (at the time of writing this article) that the National Minimum Wage, of R20 per hour for the majority of workers, will come into effect by 1 November this year.

We’ve highlighted some of the key take-homes from this legislation. Should you be unsure of how these will affect your specific workplace, consult an experienced and knowledgeable labour law expert who will be able to guide you.