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Employer nabbed for obstructing the labour inspector! Don't make the same mistake...

by , 13 April 2015
The owner of a retail store in KwaZulu-Natal received a fine of R10 000 or had go to prison. This is because he was guilty of obstructing a labour inspector from inspecting his workplace.

In the first inspection, the labour inspector said the employer was contravening the Sectoral Determination for the Wholesale and Retail sector. He wasn't paying employees the minimum wage for that sector. Nor was he contributing towards the funds for Public holiday and/or Sunday work.

What's more, he didn't give workers pay slips or written particulars of employment. He was also ignoring stipulations in terms of hours of work and period of meal intervals.

The labour inspector gave him a compliance order. The employer had 21 days to comply.

When the inspector arrived for the follow up inspection, the employer wouldn't let him come into the shop. As a result the employer was ordered to pay a fine of R10 000 or face six months in prison. They suspended half the sentence for three years. This means as long as he didn't receive another conviction for contravening the BCEA during this time, he would only need to serve three months of his sentence.
So what can you do to prevent the same fate from happening to you?

The Labour Relations Amendment Act is in effect from 1 April 2015...
Now that the LRA changes are in effect you need to make sure you're fully compliant, and of course avoid massive lawsuits from employees and fines from the DoL!

Don't fall into the same trap...
1. Make sure you're paying your employees the right minimum wage for your sector or industry.
2. Pay employees who earn less than the minimum earnings threshold for overtime and work on Sundays and Public Holidays.
3.Give your employees payslips every month.
4. Give each employee a written employment contract.
Include these 14 elements in your employee's contracts and keep the labour inspector well away: 
1. Your company's full name and address.
2. The name of the employee.
3. The employee's job description. This specifies the tasks you will expect from the employee to do his daily work actively.
4. Your employee's place of work. You must specify if the employee is required to travel or if he works at another branch.
5. The starting date of employment.
6. The employee's working hours and ordinary days of work. You may not allow an employee to work more than 45 ordinary hours a week. Nine hours per day in the case of a five-day working week and eight hours a day for more than a five day working week.
7. The employee's salary and the method of calculating payment.
Attention Employers! From the Department of Labour
Not displaying summaries of the EE Act and BCEA in the workplace is punishable by law - a labour inspector could order you to stop working IMMEDIATELY!

14 Elements continued...
8. How frequently you will pay the employee's salary.
9. The rate of pay for overtime, which must at least be in line with the requirements for your sector or bargaining council rules, or the BCEA – whichever is applicable to your industry.
10. Description of other cash payments. Specify any other allowance the employee is entitled to, e.g. travel or mobile phone allowances.
11. Any payments in kind the employee is entitled to and their value. If you give the employee accommodation and lunch every day, you must specify it.
12. You must specify any deductions you will make. For example, UIF, tax, PAYE, medical aid pension and/or provident fund etc.
13. Any leave the employer is entitled to. The BCEA says you must give your employees the following leave:
Annual leave: At least 21 consecutive days' leave per year (three weeks) Remember: This includes weekend days.
Sick leave: During each three-year cycle, you must pay sick leave equal to the minimum number of days the employee would normally work during a period of six weeks.
Family responsibility leave: If your employee has worked for you for more than four months, he's entitled to three days family responsibility leave per year. This leave can be due to the birth, death or illness of a child, or the death of a spouse, life partner, parent, adoptive parent adoptive child, grandchild, grandparent or sibling.
Maternity leave: According to the BCEA you must grant at least four consecutive months' unpaid maternity leave.
If you fall within the scope and ambit of a Sectoral Determination or Bargaining Council, make sure the points above are aligned with your contracts of employment
14. Notice periods required to terminate employment.
So there you have it… Make sure you stick to a labour inspector's compliance order or face massive fines!

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