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Follow these three best practices when dealing with fixed-term employment contracts so you can comply with the LRA

by , 05 February 2015
One of the key changes to the Labour Relations Act (LRA) deals with employing workers on a fixed-term contract.

And you have less than two months to comply with the amendment.

If, after 31 March you're not compliant, the DoL will hit you with penalties. Or worse, employees on fixed-term contracts could take you to the CCMA for unfair dismissal or unfair labour practice.

But you can easily avoid all this if you follow these three best practices when dealing with them.

Read on to find out what they are so you can comply with the LRA.


Three best practices to follow on fixed-term employment contracts

 
1. Don't put a worker on a fixed-term employment contract for longer than three months if you can't justify it
 
In this article, we explain that the LRA says you can only hire employees on a fixed-term contract that's longer than three months if you meet these conditions:
 
  • The nature of the work must be for a limited or specific duration; and
  • You must have a 'justifiable reason' for fixing the term of the contract.
 
Failure to meet these conditions means you'll be going against the provisions of the LRA. You'll have to treat the employee on the fixed term contract the same as permanent employees who do similar work. He'll automatically become your permanent employee!

 
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The LRA amendment came into effect on 1 January 2015. Do you know what the key changes are?
 
You might be aware the Labour Relations Act amendment came into effect, but the real question is do you know how these changes affect you and your company?

That's why we have the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service which provides you with updates every time a new labour law comes into effect. We keep you updated so you can comply and avoid penalties that could cripple your business!
 
Get your copy here
 
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2. Don't keep renewing a fixed-term employment contract
 
If you keep renewing a fixed-term contract you create an expectation that you'll employ your worker permanently.
 
The Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service warns that your employee could refer a case of unfair dismissal against you at the CCMA if suddenly you don't renew the contract when you've done so in the past. And you'll find it hard to defend yourself because you created an expectation!
 
3. Make sure your employment contract is in writing
 
Many employers think they have fewer legal obligations when it comes to fixed-term employees. And they don't give their fixed-term employees contracts.
 
Big mistake!
 
Not giving your employee a contract of employment is against the law.
 
Always have a concise employment contract with all your fixed-term employees. This way, you're both clear on the terms and conditions of employment. It's the easiest way to comply with labour law and avoid disputes.
 
For a 27 point checklist of what to include in your fixed-term employment contract and a sample contract for a fixed-term employee, check out the Labour Law for Managers Loose Leaf Service.
 
There you have it: Following these best practices when dealing with fixed-term employment contracts won't only help you comply with the LRA, they will help you avoid landing at the CCMA for an unfair dismissal or unfair labour practice case.
 
PS: Bookings are now open for the Labour Relations Amendment Act Workshop happening on the 20th February 2015. Don't miss out; book your seat here now!

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