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Three of the top overtime questions help you comply with the BCEA

by , 29 December 2014
If you don't know how to deal with overtime correctly, you're not alone.

Other employers battle too. The number of overtime questions our labour experts get during this time of year is proof of this.

While knowing you're not alone may be comforting, it doesn't mean things have to stay this way.

You need to know what the BCEA says about overtime so you can comply and deal with overtime correctly. If you don't, you'll face unfair labour practice cases. And these come at a huge cost.

Don't take chances.

Take a look below at the answers to the three most common overtime questions our experts get. They'll help you comply with the BCEA and avoid unfair labour practice cases.

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Question 1: Is there a legal limit to the amount of overtime an employee can work?

Answer: Yes. In terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), you can't allow your employee to work more than ten hours' overtime a week.
According to the experts behind Your Essential Guide to Overtime, the reason for this is your employees need sufficient rest. They add that if employees, at any level, work long hours they'll make mistakes and have accidents.
So the limit on the number of hours doesn't only serve to protect your employees, it protects your company too. If you make sure your employees stick to the legal amount of overtime, they won't have accidents that could harm them or destroy your company.
Question 2: What can I do when an employee fails to work overtime?

Answer: If, for example, you have an agreement in place that says Peter must work overtime and he doesn't turn up for work, he's absent without permission. This means, you can discipline him for this.
If you have an overtime agreement with your employees, it's always wise to put a clause in their contracts that says you'll discipline them if they breach the agreement.
You need to make it clear that breaching the agreement could even result in dismissal.

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Question 3: Must I provide transport and food for my employees if they work overtime?
Answer: The experts say, some bargaining council agreements state that you must give employees food when they work overtime. Or give an allowance when they work night shifts.
If you don't have an agreement in place, you must consider the issue of 'fairness'.
When it comes to labour law, the question is always 'what's fair?'
This means, if, for example, there's an emergency situation and your employee has to work overtime he didn't plan for, it's possible he won't have food and transport later on. To be fair, it may be necessary for you to help him.
While the BCEA doesn't require you to provide food or transport, it does talk about fairness. And you must consider this when it comes to overtime.
There you have it: We hope these questions will help you comply with the BCEA and avoid unfair labour practice cases.
PS: If you need more information about overtime, check out Your Essential Guide to Overtime.

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