The labour laws have finally been signed into law. The changes to the Labour Relations Act have been signed by the State President and we are merely awaiting the government gazette to enforce these laws. We suspect this would be done in the next two weeks.
These changes include four pieces of legislation.
- The Basic Conditions of Employment Act no. 20 of 2013 which has already been promulgated as from the 1st September 2014.
- The Employment Equity Act no. 47 of 2013, which has also been already promulgated on the 1st August 2014. This includes the Employment Equity Regulations.
- The Employment Services Act no.4 of 2014 we still waiting for the promulgation date. This piece of legislation will be quite insidious and I think is going to be causing many problems.
- The Labour Relations Amendment Act no.2 of 2012 was accented to by the State President on the 17th August 2014. We are still waiting for the promulgation date. It is important to note that we are still awaiting the regulations to the Labour Relations Amendment Act, which are subject to consultation.
There is a lot of risk including the unfair discrimination litigation and the fact that the unions can bring claims on behalf of employees in class actions, etc. We think this will cause an increase amongst litigation and can be bad for business.
It is important to know that the Employment Equity Act will be applicable to all employees and to Applicants for employment. The Labour Relations Act with regard to employees who are going to be employed by temporary services for longer than 3 months are applicable to those earning under R205 433, 30.
One of the real issues going to affect business is that employees doing the same work or work of equal value must be paid the same. It should also be noted that an employee may refer a dispute to the CCMA for arbitration if there is an allegation of sexual harassment and the employee earns less than the amount stated by the Minister under R205 433,30 This means that there will be many more disputes referred to the CCMA. There will be much easier access to the CCMA and the Bargaining Council.
The onus still lies on the employer to refute any allegation of unfair discrimination.