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Breaking news: The Labour Relations Amendment Act comes into effect on 1 January 2015. Make sure you know the key changes to avoid penalties

by , 18 December 2014
In early October, the Department of Labour (DoL) published amendments to the Labour Relations Act (LRA).

We now have new developments on this.

The DoL says the Labour Relations Amendment Act comes into effect on 1 January 2015.

Time isn't on your side.

You have to familiarise yourself with the amendments and take steps to comply with them.

If you don't, the DoL will hit you with harsh penalties.

And here's the thing: The DoL takes a hard-line on non-compliance. It could hit you with penalties that run into thousands on rands. And this could cripple your business.

Don't take chances.

Keep reading to find out about the key amendments to the Act so you can comply now!


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To avoid DoL penalties, comply with the Labour Relations Amendment Act

 
The key amendments to the LRA are about:
 
1. Your use of labour broker workers
 
You must only use these workers on a temporary basis and when you truly need them because of your requirements. If you don't, they will become entitled to certain rights just like your full time employees.
 
2. Part-time employees
 
You must take into account the work hours of part-time employees. You mustn't, for example, treat a part-time employee who does the same work as your full-time employee differently. If you do, you must have a valid reason for this.
 
3. Employees who are on a fixed-term contract
 
You can only employ people on a fixed-term contract or a successive fixed-term contract for longer than three months if the work is for a short period. And you must have a valid reason for fixing the term of the contract.
 
4. The CCMA and Labour Court
 
There are also amendments that will improve the effectiveness of the CCMA and the Labour Court.
 
'When you want to refer a CCMA arbitration award for review for example, you must arrange for the Labour Court to hear the matter within six months of commencing proceedings,' says Aadil Patel, from the law firm, Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.
 
He says the aim of this change is to discourage people from sending awards on review as a ploy to delay compliance with the award. He adds that the amendments also require judges to hand down review judgements quicker. This way, those involved in the matter can comply with the award within the set timeframe.
 

It's crucial that you comply with the amendments to the LRA

 
According to Patel, the Labour Relations Amendment Act shows that government wants to streamline the country's labour environment. As an employer, you must adjust the way you employ and manage your staff.
 
These amendments heavily protect vulnerable groups (i.e. part-time employees and employees on fixed-term contracts.) This means the DoL will watch you closely to make sure you comply.
 
Now that you know when the Labour Relations Amendment Act comes into effect and know the key changes, comply to avoid penalties.
 
PS: Please note these are only some of the amendments. To find out about the other amendments, ask our experts at the Labour & HR Club.


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