Tag Archive | labour legislation

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

Posted in Facebook and Twitter, Labour, LinkedIn, Special Recent Posts, Trade & Industry0 Comments

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/

Posted in BEE, Facebook and Twitter, Labour, LinkedIn, Trade & Industry0 Comments

Employment Services Bill waits in the wings

Job data required…..

For the first time in SA, every employer might have to advise the minister of all positions that become vacant in their structures and give details to the state of new jobs being created. The proposed Employment Services Bill is one of four new labour bills in process through Parliament.

It consequently follows that the principle with the new proposals being considered that the minister of labour in the proposals now before Parliament that government departments may pass on to the private sector job applicants that they have on record to fill jobs.  Also, companies that fail to notify the minister or department of labour when positions are filled may face a minimum fine of R10,000.

EEA Bill  bound to succeed in some form

These are some one of the more radical aspects of the proposed Employment Services Amendment Bill (EEA) Bill, which at this stage has proposed various changes within government setting up its own public service employment agencies as an inter-departmental internal process. Quite naturally, it is expected that this process will proceed, as DOL is not likely to object, nor any other state entities.

Parliament awaits to debate the Bill.

One of the primary aims of the EEA Bill is the proposal to keep a record of job seekers and record of vacancies in both private and public sectors and thus contributing to the national aim of reducing South Africa’s unemployment figures. The Bill acknowledges the seriousness of South Africa’s unemployment figures.

Free placings

The Bill also focuses on the section of government policy, touched upon in the three other amendments to labour legislation that are in parliamentary process,following the desired avenue of the eradication of the labour broking industry and, in the process, to allow the state to become more involved in the recruitment business on a free of charge basis.

This is also indicated in the department of labour (DOL) statements in Parliament recently when DOL officials stated that government’s view is that it has to influence the path of creating more jobs in order to meet targets set by the New Growth Plan if the department is to reach the targets set and subsequently evaluated by the monitoring and performance process within the presidency structure.

Foreign workers isolated

The EEA Bill flies in the face of constitutional queries, say commentators in the labour market, and the proposals seek to elevate opportunities for citizens over those of foreign workers by requiring employers to make use of the public employment service to be managed by DOL before employing foreign nationals.

The proposed Bill states that reasons will have to be submitted as to why citizens with suitable profiles referred to them by the department could not be employed with further questions as to their nationality.

Labour broking targeted

The EEA Bill also seeks to regulate, and to provide a licensing system, for what are referred to as “private employment agencies” and commentators say that definitions are poor when it comes to what is a labour broker,  a recruitment agent, and even employers working through contacts. They complain that it will be the state registration process that will soon decide who is and who is not acceptable.

The Bill introduces criminalisation for failure to meet many of the proposals outlined in the Bill.

Finally, the EEA Bill introduces a proposed Employment Services Board with functions to oversee the public employment services and oversee various regulatory matters connection with the process of hiring labour. A proposal is also made to regulate the existing agency, Productivity South Africa, insofar as its mandate is concerned to provide skills and put them in line with DOL strategies.

Refer previous articles in this category
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//cabinetpresidential/parliament-delays-process-on-labour-relations-bill/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//labour/new-noise-level-labour-bill-on-way/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//education/employment-services-bill-will-promote-jobs-and-free-employment-services/

Posted in Finance, economic, Labour, Land,Agriculture, Mining, beneficiation, Public utilities, Special Recent Posts, Trade & Industry0 Comments

Labour : nobody at top biting the bullet

Parliamentary labour committee gives hint…..

mildred-oliphantLabour Minister Mildred Oliphant said in her budget vote speech that she would meet with the trade union leadership to discuss the “adversarial nature” of the country’s industrial relations and explore ways to arrest the “potential threat” to the system of collective bargaining. With the Nedlac process under scrutiny, South Africa heads towards an election with a Parliament not quite sure what is really happening.

Meanwhile, after months of painstaking negotiations and re-drafting of South Africa’s new labour laws and with the amendments under the Labour Relations Act nearing finalisation and adoption, suddenly an adversarial attitude was also adopted by the governing alliance members over contentious and much argued about issues such as labour broking.

So, with attitudes hardening, business has again lost track of indicators regarding government’s views on labour matters. A swing to the left was previously the concern but as political commentators now note, a swing to the nationalistic right is even more worrying.

What relevance then her speech?

Minister Oliphant  also said in her address that her department would host a labour relations indaba to enable stakeholders and role-players to engage regarding the future of collective bargaining in South Africa but a reading of recent parliamentary views stated by ANC MPs would change the ground rules for such an engagement yet again. Quite clearly, with an election forthcoming, the pack of cards has suddenly been thrown into the air. Oliphant continued…….

“We want to generate greater interests and concerns of social partners in respect of labour relations conflict, and identify measures to strengthen labour relations and dialogue to achieve labour market stability and peace,”  adding that the department of labour (DoL) was working closely with NEDLAC and the CCMA to achieve this.

Smoky glass

The minister noted that her budget vote took place at a critical time, when South Africa was entering the collective bargaining season, which seemed a pretty pointless thing to say and then compounded the totally inert contribution by adding that “Looking at the year ahead, that all stakeholders will  have to work together to achieve a peaceful environment in labour relations and collective bargaining.”

Finance waves a finger at somebody

pravon gordhanShortly afterwards when introducing the debate on his budget vote in the National Assembly, finance minister Pravin Gordhan said South Africa “was at a cross-roads over renewed labour unrest in the mining sector” and something needed to be done or the country would lose jobs and investor confidence, and companies would close. ‘

In his medium term budget statement, he was at pains to re-assure the investing community that budget deficits were under control and that SA was walking the big talk. But there was no reference to the big issue. A bloated public service, way out of proportion to the size of the community in South Africa, has a  pay rise coming.  This is more than a bump in the road head, it massive pothole to be negotiated.

“Concerted action by organised labour, business, civic leaders, and government is needed in the coming months , said the minister. “There is no role for complacency here”, he warned. Gordhan reiterated that labour unrest and stoppages at mines contributed “to much of the weaker economic performance in 2012”, which was compounded by job growth of only one percent.

“We are all in this together. If we do not resolve our labour relations challenges we will be losers. We will see deteriorating confidence, job losses, and business failures.”

Finding sensible solutions, Gordhan said, to the labour strife would benefit all. “But if we find a balanced, fair, socially responsible solution, we all stand to gain and we will see higher investment, higher employment, and improvements in living conditions. This is the choice that lies before us.”

Misfire, or was it?

zuma2Then spoke President Zuma in a special extra parliamentary speech from Pretoria, who also called on mining participants in the wage talks to play a stronger role, saying government could not take sides in the turf war between unions. His continued reference to the minister of finance’s speech earlier in Parliament was the anchor point of what he had to say, which it turned out to be very little.

In the meanwhile, minister in the presidency responsible for performance monitoring and evaluation, Collins Chabane, told parliamentarians in his budget vote speech that the National Development Plan (NDP), endorsed by COSATU or not, would form the basis of strategic framework for the next five years for government focus, the NDP forming the basis of nearly twenty budget votes speeches in Parliament in the last three weeks.

The apparent focus by government on the NDP and COSATU’s renewed platform of referring back to the Freedom Charter, was also evident during a speech by Trevor Manuel, minister of planning and one of the main architects of the NDP, who told his audience “We should guard against be waylaid by all manner of self-serving agendas that direct us away from building the desirable plan”.

VaviMeanwhile, Zwelinzima Vavi, general secretary of COSATU, told his audience, “Four out of ten people are unemployed and 19 years after democracy, we have become the protest centre of the world, a country still far from achieving the economic demands of the Freedom Charter.” He told his audience there was a lot to celebrate but all COSATU wanted was for the wealth of the country to be shared.

No mention of the NDP. Nobody stepping to the footplate.

To-ing and fro-ing on labour issues appears to be average activity for politicians, including the President, and at the moment, with nobody sticking their heads over the parapet, Parliament heads towards an election with business sitting in a vacuum and the international rating bodies not quite are what we are up to .

Posted in Cabinet,Presidential, Facebook and Twitter, Finance, economic, Labour, LinkedIn, Mining, beneficiation, Public utilities, Trade & Industry0 Comments

New “noise level” labour Bill on way

Occupational Act to be amended…

Vuvuzelas A new labour bill on noise level induced hearing loss involving amendments to the Occupational Health and Safety (OHS) Act would be introduced to Parliament said Madodana Tuntulwana, from the department of labour (DoL) director general’s office, when addressing parliamentarians on the department of labour’s annual budget report to Parliament.

 

The new Bill had been drafted which was with the State Law Advisers before being presented to cabinet and then, as is normal, going to Nedlac.   The Bill is as a result of research in the workplace carried out after visits to factory and workplaces in South Africa.

Annual report back

In presenting its annual performance figures, now tracked in terms of performance and evaluation,  DoL also presented its performance figures and budget, receiving credits from a number of parliamentarians across the political spectrum on their achievements for the year under review.

DoL showed that it had managed to inspect 32 838 workplaces compared to a target of 33 917 for the last quarter of 2012 alone, finding that 59% of workplaces complied fully with all aspect of labour regulations. Due action had been taken. On national figures, just given as an activity guide, it was also stated as being DoL’s intention to visit some 87,000 work stations nationally before the year was complete.

Complaints response

Labour complaints received from employees around the country to DoL offices numbered in total some 55,500 of which 65% were settled in 14 days, against a target set of 70%. The response system in most provinces was therefore working, it was noted.

Tuntulwana was very specific on inspections in the workplace were “social protection”, injury or hazardous materials were involved.  Noting that for this a separate exercise had taken place in the Western Cape, for which there was no political reason, so far 63 of the specific inspections out of a target of 200 had been achieved and matters dealt with or were in due process.

Tuntulwana added that other legislation, regulations and guidelines on employment services had been drawn up to address discrepancies in the labour market, provide a quality service and make DoL employment services more accessible during the next year.

Half a million workers applying

DoL stated it had succeeded in registering was 427,349 work-seekers, tabling a breakdown of the targets and achievements per province as at the end of 2012 together with a breakdown of work-seekers receiving counselling. He claimed that  94%, or 196 438 of the 207 950 people, who had approached the department nationally, had been dealt with.

Associated articles archived
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//bee/rumblings-in-labour-circles-on-bee/
http://parlyreportsa.co.za//education/employment-services-bill-will-promote-jobs-and-free-employment-services/

Posted in Enviro,Water, Labour, Public utilities, Trade & Industry0 Comments

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


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