Amended labour legislation makes provision for equal treatment of temporary workers

BY SUPPLIED - FEBRUARY 20, 2015

A key aspect to the amended labour laws is that temporary employees must be treated equally to permanent workers, unless there is a genuine justification, Department of Labour Director of Collective Bargaining, Ian Macun told stakeholders today (Friday 20).

Addressing more than 2000 stakeholders at the Sandton Convention Centre, Macun said the key message from the amendments to the labour laws “is equal treatment, fair engagement in collective bargaining and elimination of unfair discrimination”.

According to Macun, workers employed by Labour Brokers often do not have access to social benefits (e.g retirement funds), thus should be treated equally. He further said temporary employees would be protected against unfair dismissal.

Macun said temporary employees (and trade unions) may pursue either the Temporary Employment Services (TES) or the client in cases of abuse. He said these protection mechanisms apply to those earning below he Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) threshold of R205,433.30.

The Department of Labour and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) have initiated joint national educational roadshows that started in Cape Town on 16 February 2015.

The purpose of the national roadshows is to create awareness to amendments to the “new” labour laws and to inform stakeholders and the public of the main amendments and their implications. The amended labour laws were now in force.

The key labour laws that were recently reviewed, and were now in force include:

-          The Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act – assented and gazetted on 9th December 2013 and promulgated on 1st September 2014.

-          Employment Equity Amendment Act – assented and gazetted on 16th January 2014 and promulgated on 1stAugust 2014.

-          Labour Relations Amendment Act – assented and gazetted on 18th August 2014 and promulgated in January 2015.

-          Employment Services Act – assented and gazetted on 7th April 2014 and promulgation expected in April 2015.

The key focus of the presentation during roadshows is on the broad changes in areas such as the protection of vulnerable workers; temporary employment which is now limited to a period not exceeding three months; and discrimination in respect of issues of equal pay for work of equal value.

The review of labour laws was initiated in 2010. The Bills were submitted to NEDLAC at the same time, together with a Report on Regulatory Impact Assessment. The Department of Labour subsequently embarked on national public roadshows which were followed by Parliamentary public hearings.   

Necessitating the amendments was to respond to increased informalisation of labour market to ensure vulnerable categories of workers receive adequate protection and are employed in conditions of decent work;

-          Enhance the effectiveness of the labour market institutions such as the Labour Courts, the CCMA, the Essential Services Committee and the labour inspectorate.

-          Strengthen the implementation of employment equity legislation and enhance equal treatment in the workplace.

-          Re-position the public employment services.

To date, presentations on new amended labour laws have been conducted in Cape Town, Bloemfontein, and Kimberley.

Next week more roadshows will be held on (23 February) at Durban’s International Convention Centre; (25 February) at Umbali Lodge Portion 44 in Nelspruit (Mbombela); (02 March) at Kat Leisure Osner Hotel in East London; (03 March) ETC Conference Centre Spondo Street at Struandale in Port Elizabeth; (05 March) at Safari Lodge Hotel & Convention Centre 1 Donkerhoek Road in Rustenburg; (06 March) at the CSIR Conference Centre in Meiring Naude Road in Pretoria (Tshwane).

 

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