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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