Tag Archive | labour law

Further labour law changes proposed

New labour law on male parental leave…. 

sent to clients 20 Dec…….Cheryllin Dudley MP, an ACDP parliamentarian, has introduced a Private Member’s Bill to Parliament proposingcheryllin dudley amendment to SA labour laws on the general issues of parental issues; adoption of the child and proposals to allow parental leave to both parents with a list of benefits.

Public comment expired on 25 December and being a private members Bill, the invitation came from Parliament and specifically the Secretary to the Portfolio Committee on Labour, for comment. The Bill is entitled the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, a name which is bound to attract attention

MPs themselves are allowed to propose legislation direct to Parliament without reference to the particular government department affected. The Speaker of the House has, by procedure, assented to the tabling of this Bill.

Happier families

Bill seeks to amend the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997, so as to provide for parental, adoption and commissioning parental leave to employees; to provide that a collective agreement may not reduce an employee’s entitlement to parental, adoption or commissioning parental leave and amend the Unemployment Insurance Act. It also provides for the right to claim leave and parental benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund.

The issue applying parental leave to “all parents” is obviously proposed in order to include a wider definition to those providing male parental care in terms of leave. The issue of gay adoptive relationships is not included in the actual wording (nor would an ACDP member suggest this) but the purpose of the Bill is apparently not selective as to whom the parents are but rather to significantly expand the recognition of parenthood in general at the workplace.

Family values first

mum dad and babyIn an explanatory memorandum attached to the draft Labour Laws Amendment Bill, the proponent explains that the Bill is primarily trying to get paternity leave legislated as part of its “policy on family values”, which stresses the importance of fathers in families.

It is proposed that any couple can decide which partner takes the 10 days of parental leave and which one takes a standardised two and a half months, cutting this down from four months as allowed under the Basic Employment Act.

One assumes, therefore, that the ACDP, has skirted the issue of gay relationships by accommodating the issue by proposing that all paternity leave would apply to all relationships in a heterosexual relationship but apply equally to one of the partners in a same-sex civil union.

The Bill will go through the normal legislative process, the Department of Labour’s submission therefore being a critical one during parliamentary hearings to be called in due course.

Labour in turmoil

No doubt COSATU and PIC will be more awake to making submissions than was in the case of the Financial Sector Regulations Bill (Twin Peaks) which vitally affected labour conditions insofar as government service and private sector on retirement funds, annuities and pensions, the Act now being signed and claimed as “sneaked” through – as if a change recommended in the 2014/5 Budget could possibly have been.  

Go to http://parlyreportsa.co.za/finance-economic/tax-legislation-for-parliamentary-debate/ for this subject, now in national debate, having passed through the parliamentary arena.

Previous articles on labour category subject
Deliberations reaching final stage on labour laws – ParlyReportSA
Labour Relations Act changes passed – ParlyReportSA
Labour committee ignores strikes – ParlyReportSA
Labour : nobody at top biting the bullet – ParlyReportSA

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Employment Equity Amendment Bill set to pass

Foreign labour gets look in….

legalIn an unusual turn of events  the Employment Equity Amendment Bill  allows for foreigners whose applications for citizenship were turned down before 1994 on the basis of their skin colour and such persons can be included in employment equity (EE) returns in future. Furthermore, all white, Indian and coloured women who had been gender disadvantaged in terms of statutory law at any stage will also qualify for inclusion in terms of equity reporting.

The next debate will possibly include a vote, the Employment Equity Bill being the third in a raft of four new labour bills presented recently to Parliament.

More of the same

The new EE Bill prohibits unfair discrimination in the workplace; regulates for the implementation of employment equity plans; gives more powers to labour inspectors; increase fines for non-compliance on equity issues for business; and ring fences such funds into a nominated national revenue fund.

Contraventions of some ten sections of the new Bill result in fines have a maximum penalty of R500,000 in cases where there are no previous convictions, to R900,000 in the case of four previous convictions in respect of the same offence within a period of three years.

Turnover based fines

Fines are, in fact, to be related to turnover of the entity in question, which can fall into eleven categories varying from agriculture to manufacturing, quarrying and mining to catering and transport and from wholesale, trade and commercial agencies to finance and business services. Electricity, gas and water are mentioned, as is construction and community and personal services – all with total annual turnover thresholds.

Other than a query from MPs to define further what constituted a “test” in terms of proposed provisions for regulations for psychometric evaluations to be carried out by the Health Professions Council, there were few objections or queries on the Bill when presented by DOL and the legislation looks destined for an easy passage through Parliament.

Refer previous articles in this category
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//bee/turnover-fines-employment-equity-breaches/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//labour/employment-equity-bill-criminalises-offenders/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//bee/rumblings-in-labour-circles-on-bee/

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Dates for new labour law amendments outlined

A date of November 2012 has been given as the conclusion date for the NEDLAC debate on the trio of labour law amendment bills currently before them and which includes the now much-discussed labour law touching upon labour broking. Also included in the discussions are also the Public Employment Services Bill and the Employment Equity Amendment Bill.

The date was given by minister Mildred Oliphant when introducing her department’s strategic plan for 2012 to the relevant portfolio committee last week.

The three bills, all further amendments to their own anchor legislation being dealt with first are the Employment Equity Amendment Bill; the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill.

The department of labour (DOL) is in the process of presenting all three Bills to cabinet and then tabling in Parliament.

Taking into account parliamentary public hearings on all three, which will probably be a lengthy process, the middle of July 2013 would be a probable date by which such legislation as finally amended and gets put to the vote.

Amongst the principles of the new legislation as promoted by Minister Oliphant and DOL generally were her department’s objectives of promoting sound and responsive legislation, flexibility of the labour market;  promoting as always “decent employment” but not at the same time compromising a favourable climate for investment, she said.

Insofar as the contentious Labour Relations Amendment Bill is concerned, minister Oliphant said that current proposals were that employers would have ensure that an employer treats a part-time employee generally not less favourably than a comparable full-time employee doing the same work, unless there is a justifiable reason for different treatment.

A similar expression with the word “justifiable” was used by minister Oliphant when describing an employee on a fixed term contract for longer than six months who must be treated “on the whole” not less favourably than an employee employed on an indefinite basis.

She also referred to the issue where an employee has been in service for a period exceeding 24 months who, according to the draft as it stood at present, will be paid severance “subject to the terms of any applicable collective  agreement,” one week’s remuneration for each completed year of his or her contract.

The issue of the registration of labour brokers remains an issue of political rhetoric, statements from government ministers and the President varying according to the audience.

It is understood that discussions at NEDLAC on the remaining two Bills have not begun.

BUSA expressed its dismay regard the process now nearly complete before matters go for parliamentary process, saying this will hardly correct the inherent defects in the changes which “will destroy economic growth”.

Posted in BEE, Cabinet,Presidential, Finance, economic, Labour, Land,Agriculture, Mining, beneficiation, Trade & Industry, Transport0 Comments

Parliamentary hearings on labour broking call for regulation

In its submission to the portfolio committee on labour, the Confederation of Associations in the Private Employment Sector (Capes) presented the case for labour brokers saying that they were the single biggest channel for introducing never-employed African youth into the labour market.

John Brand, a legal representative with Capes, said that an absolute ban of labour brokers was not only illegal but an impractical suggestion.   He told parliamentarians that it was difficult enough to import the necessary skills for certain development projects and at the same time deal with the “ebb and flow” of normal workplace situations without the application of such impractical kinds of law as envisaged.

Capes was joined at the hearings on the subject of amendments to the labour law by the Association of Nursing Agencies, who said that specialised labour brokers were essential in the current situation of under-staffed hospital institutions and the call for specialised health services in many cases could only be met by labour brokers.

The health situation was bad enough in South Africa, the association said, without such restrictions being place on its ability to deliver.

Capes said that at times in the labour field there was a legitimate need for temporary workers because of the natural ebb and flow of business situations, geographic factors, leave periods and temporary breakdown and downtime situations. He confirmed that regulation must apply in the cases of abuse, however.

What is required, says Brand, is regulation which, for example, stipulates that temporary employees should not be provided with terms and conditions of employment less favourable than the minimum ones given to permanent employees in the same job.

This, he said, would discourage employers from using temporary employees except when genuinely necessary to meet operational requirements.

Another possible regulation that could be employed is to put a cap on the length of time that a person is allowed to be employed temporarily in a particular position and a particular period of time therefore before being deemed in terms of the regulation as a permanent one, Brand concluded.

The Federation of Unions of South Africa (Fedusa), said in its submissions that the contentious issues such as duration; social security; dismissal; benefits and freedom to organise and the right to associate, all of which had been debated for months, could all be tackled through proper legislative provisions.

Fedusa said it had called on the Minister of Labour to change his stance on supporting a banning of labour brokering and endorse the principle of tackling the issue through properly written regulation.

They added that the majority of brokers operate in accordance with the law and do not seek to exploit the workers. Regulations, if they are properly enforced, Capes said, would “weed out the fly-by-nighters” and this, in turn, would give the entire industry a credible reputation and satisfy the critics.

Meanwhile, private sector parties and unions have agreed with NEDLAC parties some form of legislative compromise, details at this stage being unknown and at drafting stage within the department of labour, as far as the various anchor Acts and proposed Bills to come before Parliament for amendment are concerned. It is to be assumed there will be a further round of hearings.

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