Quick Update on Labour Law Amendment

In mid-September 2013, the Select Committee on Labour gave notice of its intention to hold further hearings on the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, 2012 and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, 2013. The closing date for comment was 25 September 2013. So, the drama continues to unfold since late 2010 in relation to the amendments. Are we any closer to the amendments being legislated? If I were a gambling man, I would bet sometime early 2014.

The Employment Equity Amendment Bill, 2013 was tabled in the National Assembly on 24 October 2013. Some of the main amendments include:

  • Amendment of the definition of "designated groups" so that beneficiaries of affirmative action are now limited to persons who were citizens of South Africa before 1994 and their descendants, or those who would have been entitled to citizenship if not for apartheid policies.
  • A new clause on "equal pay for work of equal value", which deals with unfair discrimination by employers in respect of terms and conditions of employment of employees doing the same work, similar work or work of equal value. This clause includes contract workers, whether employed by the temporary employment agency or directly by the company.
  • Strengthening compliance and enforcement mechanisms so that labour inspectors may issue compliance orders that may result in non-complying employers being referred directly to the labour court for a fine without the present enforcement process having to be utilised by the department of labour.
  • Introduction of increased arbitration powers for the CCMA, which will allow employees an option of referring unfair discrimination cases for arbitration in the CCMA in cases of alleged sexual harassment, or lower paid employees earning less than the earnings threshold who will be entitled to refer any discrimination claim to the CCMA for arbitration.
  • Amendment of fines and penalties have been increased and linked to the turnover of the business.
    Once the amendments have been finalised we will run a seminar to discuss and review the amendments with you.

This month we feature two articles on new legislation that will impact upon employee relations and examine whether a trade union can be held liable for negligence.

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