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Do you know how the Department of Labour (DoL) enforces labour laws?

by , 01 April 2015
There is a certain procedure the Department of Labour follows whenever it sends inspectors to monitor and enforce compliance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA).

And today, we're sharing it with you so you can be prepared:

Inspectors have the power to enforce all the labour laws the Department of Labour's responsible for

These laws cover:

• The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA);
• The Labour Relations Act (LRA);
• The Employment Equity Act (EEA); and
• The Compensation of Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COID).

Note that a labour inspector can go into any workplace, at any reasonable time, to check and enforce compliance with labour laws (Section 65 and 66 of the BCEA). But, you'll normally get a written notice from the inspector before he gets there.

However, keep in mind that an inspection notice isn't a legal requirement. A labour inspector can come into your workplace without a warrant or notice, unless your workplace is a private home. In this case, he must produce a warrant.

Also, keep in mind that a labour inspector is entitled to ask you for any information when it comes to employment laws.

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Here are the four duties of a labour inspector

A labour inspector has a duty to:

• Advise you and your employees of your rights and obligations when it comes to employment laws;
• Investigate complaints about employers not complying, if there are any;
• Conduct inspections of workplaces; and
• Make sure employers comply with employment laws.

He'll do this by getting undertakings to comply from you or by issuing a compliance order.

In the case of an inspection, it's helpful that you know the six powers of a labour inspector

A labour inspector has the power to:

1. Require you to disclose information relating to labour laws;
2. Inspect, or question you about any record or document relating to employment laws;
3. Make copies of documents;
4. Require you to deliver a relevant document to a specific place;
5. Inspect and question you about and, if necessary, remove any article, substance or machinery at your workplace; and
6. Inspect and question you about any work you do.

Note that an inspector can ask anyone at your company to do one or all of the above.

Moreover, a labour inspector can't use any answers you give him in criminal proceedings. But, he can use them if it relates to a charge of perjury or making a false statement.

Use the following as a tip and don't forget that you can ask the inspector to give you a receipt for anything he takes from your workplace. Know that he also has to give back anything he takes within a reasonable period. Unfortunately, the Act doesn't prescribe what a "reasonable" period is. But it would probably be reasonable for you to start asking for your records back after a month.

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