Understanding Employment Law

Understanding How Changes to the Employment Law Affect Your Business in South Africa

An understanding of employment law in South Africa starts with getting to know the various laws in place to regulate labour and employment issues in the country. A basic understanding of each of the below is essential to ensure fair and reasonable conduct by both the employer and employee:


  • Basic Conditions of Employment
  • Labour Relations
  • Employment Equity
  • Occupational Health & Safety
  • Skills Development Levies
  • Skills Development
  • Unemployment Insurance
  • Manpower Training


The problem is that amendments to acts, new legislation, and changes in regulations make it difficult for employers and employees to keep up to date with important aspects of the law. Understanding employment law is a matter of studying the various acts and how these work together to govern employment relations.

Fortunately, our team makes it our goal to deepen employer understanding of employment law regarding specific issues. Rather than hoping for the best or relying on generic employment contracts or hearsay about regulations, employers can make use of our legal services. By doing so, employers can prevent situations where their actions lead to industrial action, CCMA hearings, or Labour Court cases.


How We Help You

If you are an employer, you thus benefit from having our team of attorneys draft your employment policies and contracts. We assist you in ensuring compliance with all the relevant legislation. As such, your employees also benefit, since their basic employment rights are protected and respected.

For one, as an employer, you can avoid pitfalls such as not adhering to the requirements of the Employment Equity Act. If you, for instance, employ more than 50 people or have a turnover of more than a specific amount per year according to your industry, you must comply with the Employment Equity Act.

Regardless of your firm’s size, the Occupational Health & Safety Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act are extremely important. For example, even though the Labour Relations Act does not require you to have a written employment contract, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act stipulates that you must provide the employee with a letter of appointment and basic description of their position, starting date, and more.

Understanding when which regulations apply to you as an employer is therefore essential. When you make use of our labour law guidance and services, we ensure that you stay up to date with important changes, and we ensure that your employment contracts and policies are in line with the latest legislation.

New laws come into place on a regular basis. Take, for instance, the latest additions to the labour laws of the country that include the Provident Fund Annuitisation, the Employment Tax Incentive Act, and the Unemployment Insurance Benefits Act. There is also the Minimum Wage Bill to consider.

What you have done in the past, even last year, may no longer be allowed. It is thus imperative to stay up to date regarding changes in employment law. We understand that you want to focus on core critical business functions and as such, you don’t have the time to study every new piece of legislation in order to gain an in-depth understanding of it. There is also the question of how to interpret such legislation. It makes sense to have our team of attorneys help you to ensure that every aspect of your employment relations is handled and documented in compliance with the relevant legislation.

Do you know about the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and how it affects your employment contracts? The Labour Relations Bill was also passed. Do you know how this affects minimum wages? Up until the introduction of the National Minimum Wage Bill, there was no employment law to stipulate what the minimum wage for employees should be. However, with the National Minimum Wage Bill, the person earning the least in your business must get a minimum of R20 per hour.

If you have not yet made the changes to ensure your company pays the minimum wage required, then you will be glad to know that the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill gives start-ups, as well as small and medium enterprises, the possibility of exemption for up to 12 months if they are struggling to pay the new minimum wage.

The Labour Relations Amendment Bill was passed in November 2017 and accordingly, surrogacy, adoption, and paternity leave are now part of the types of leave to which employees are entitled. Understanding how these and many other amendments to the employment laws of the country affect your company’s employment relations and policies is essential. Let our team of attorneys help you gain a better understanding of the relevant employment laws and ensure that your policies are in line with the latest legislation.

Call us on 011 234 2125 for assistance in setting up employment contracts or handling any disputes.


Disclaimer: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. Call on our attorneys for legal advice, rather than relying on the information herein to make any decisions. The information is relevant to the date of publishing – December 2018.

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