Termination

If you need to terminate an employee, you'll want to do it with dignity and professionalism. Get advice and download employment termination forms.

A quick guide to termination

Sooner or later the day will come when you are faced with having to dismiss an employee. It is never a pleasant task and there are certain procedures to be followed to make sure you are complying with the labour law pertaining to the termination of employment, specifically the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The Act applies to all employers and workers. It regulates leave, working hours, employment contracts, deductions, pay slips, and termination. Here is a quick guide to termination, based on the Act.

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Be consistent when dealing with employee theft

One would think that dismissing an employee for theft is always defensible at the CCMA. It is not quite that simple, though. An employer who has not been consistent in dealing with theft cases might just have to reinstate a thieving employee. Here is why you should stay consistent when addressing theft in your small business.

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Being taken to the CCMA for an unfair dismissal

In the unfortunate and unpleasant event that you have to dismiss a staff member, it's essential that you follow the procedures laid down in labour law. Not only is this necessary from a legal compliance point of view, but vital should the dismissal be disputed. Should an employee dispute the termination of his employment, the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration) will need to carefully examine whether or not the dismissal was both procedurally and substantively fair.

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Dismissal for refusing to sign a contract

Employers are often at a loss when an employee refuses to sign a contract of employment. Often, this may be due to some misunderstanding or unhappiness with regard to particular provisions in the contract. In such situations, can the employee be disciplined or dismissed? What other measures are available to the employer? Here are some guidelines that you can follow.

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Dismissal related to transfer of business

Sales of businesses are a regular feature of the modern economy. Mergers and acquisitions occur all too often as businesses position themselves for a better share of the market. In all these commercial transactions, the interests of the employees should not be forgotten. This article answers the question: What are the current employees' rights when a business has been sold as a going concern?

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Exit interview questionnaire

To avoid complications with fired employees, use an exit interview questionnaire. This questionnaire provides an example of an exit interview for you to receive final feedback from your employees on their work experience at your company. This feedback aims at improving your working conditions and performance. You may adapt it to your business needs and employment conditions.

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Forfeiting severance pay

Employees are entitled to severance pay when they are retrenched due to their employers’ operational or economic reasons. The entitlement in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) amounts to a minimum of one week’s remuneration for every completed year of service. However, not every retrenchment results in payment of severance pay. In other words, an employee may be retrenched without severance pay. Find out more about when and why this can happen.

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Frequently asked questions about labour law

Find out the answers to some of the most commonly asked questions about labour legislation. These questions include: What should I do when an employee leaves before their notice period is up? Should the employee be notified before the contract expires? When an employee resigns on 24 hours notice, is the company entitled to set off the notice period as prescribed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act or the contract that the employee signed? And more.

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HR for SMEs – do you really need it?

Many SMEs do not have an HR function, which is understandable in organisations with few employees. A full-time HR person would be costly and probably not fully utilised if the headcount does not warrant it. As Human Resources is ultimately a management responsibility, management should bear the full brunt of this in an SME. However, many managers are not well versed in the full HR functions, and HR mistakes due to a lack of understanding of the current HR environment can be costly and time-consuming. These HR functions are critical to any business, regardless of size.

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Insubordination vs disrespect

South African employees are so heavily protected by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, by Labour Legislation, by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), as well as trade unions, that they are often not afraid to defy the employer’s instructions. For the employer the resulting insubordination is a nightmare. This is especially so where the employer or line management is ill-equipped to deal with the insubordinate employee and fails to understand what insubordination is and how it differs from disrespect. Find out these differences here.

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Know the difference between fair and unfair dismissal

If you have the unpleasant task of firing an employee, you need to know what is considered fair and unfair according to Labour Law. Even if you have due cause for the dismissal, not following the correct procedures can see you paying a very costly visit to the CCMA. This article looks at the differences between fair and unfair dismissal, according to the Labour Relations Act.

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Labour Guide

The South African Labour Guide is an online guide to labour law in South Africa. The guide provides information and resources on 24 hour notices; absenteeism; alcoholism in the workplace; bonuses; constructive dismissal; the Consumer Protection Act; employment contracts; derivative misconduct; desertion; dismissals; inconsistency relating to the disciplinary sanctions; insubordination; poor performance; probation; resignations; and much more.

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Labour.co.za

Labour.co.za is a partnership of independent, highly qualified and experienced South African Labour professionals offering South African solutions to the South African Private and Public Sectors. In particular, Labour.co.za provides solutions in the following areas: labour law support and advice, human resource management, training and seminars on labour relations, employment contracts, retrenchments, Department of Labour issues, and trade unions negotiations.

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Recovering debt from an employee

Sometimes people resign from a business and due to a number of different circumstances, they still owe money to their previous employer. It would be ideal to make a clean break with departing employees. Alas, it is not always so, especially when the trust relationship has been completely destroyed. Here are a few guidelines to help you with the recovery of employee debt.

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Sample non-compete agreement

When an employee leaves your business, is he or she taking things along that you would rather not give up? Is the employee going to open up in competition with you, or try to steal your customers, or employ secret processes that are a source of your competitive advantage? Obviously, no employer wants to lose an employee under those circumstances. One way to avoid this is to enter into agreements with your employees that restrict their rights to compete with you. Find a sample non-compete agreement here.

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The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA)

The Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) was established to provide the country with an accessible, user-friendly and, above all, inexpensive labour dispute resolution system. Workers who have allegedly been unfairly dismissed or the victims of various unfair labour practices are able to approach the CCMA alone or with certain categories of recognised representatives in order to seek redress for workplace wrongs.

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Think twice before dismissing an employee for dishonesty

The Labour Relations Act, schedule 8: section 2(2), recognises three grounds on which a termination of employment might be legitimate. These are the conduct of the employee, the capacity of the employee and the operational requirements of the employer. It also states that it is generally not appropriate to dismiss an employee for a first offence, except if the misconduct is of such gravity that it makes continued employment intolerable. An example of serious misconduct is gross dishonesty. Here's what to consider before firing someone for dishonesty.

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Tread carefully when considering a character reference

Our law does not place an obligation on any employer to provide a character reference for an employee when their employment relationship has ended but likewise it also does not prohibit an employer form providing such a character reference. It is more important that the organization requiring the character references ensure that it has obtained the necessary consent of the job applicant to do so. Here are some guidelines on what to keep in mind when considering a character reference.

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What is the CCMA and what does it do?

A letter from the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) is the last thing any business owner wants to get. But what exactly is the CCMA, how does it operate, and how can you avoid ever having to see the inside of their building? The CCMA was established to provide the country with an accessible, user-friendly and, above all, inexpensive labour dispute resolution system. Read on find out how their services and resources can help you avoid a costly labour dispute.

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What notice must an employee give when resigning?

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act provides that an employee's employment may terminate only on notice of not less than four weeks where the employee has been employed for one year or more. However, an employer and their employee may agree to a longer notice period. What, therefore, are the employee's obligations when giving notice? And what can the employer do if they breach those obligations? Find out the answers to those questions here.

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