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Find out how 99.8 accumulated leave days landed Huletts and Kohler Packaging at the CCMA... And how you can prevent the same fate!

by , 17 May 2017
What do you do if you need to cancel an employee's leave?
Case law: Jardine vs Tongaat Huletts [2003] 7 BLLR 717 (LC)
Did you know that not forcing your employees to take their annual leave could end up costing you anything up to R15,000 per employee?

The July school holidays aren't that far off. And along with the almost four weeks of schools being closed, comes the mountain of employee-leave issues you have to deal with too.
 
And while most employees look forward to time off, what would you do if someone says he doesn't want to take leave now? But you need him over December, so want him to go off now. And what if he already has quite a few days due to him because he hardly ever takes leave?
 
Can you force him to take his leave now? I'm sure you want to say 'yes' right off the bat, and you are right. But your employee may need some convincing...
 
Let's have a look at a Labour Court case that deals with leave days due to employees who have more days due to them than the minimum... and why you must make them take leave.
 
***

What do you do if you need to cancel an employee's leave?
 
William applied for leave a month ago. He assured you he'd have all his deadlines in check, and his work finished. So you approved it and he paid for his romantic week away with his fiancé.
 
Everyone wins.
 
But it's now three days before he leaves, and he's nowhere near reaching his deadline. What now?
 
Do you let him go away? After all, you said he could have the days off. Or do you do the one thing you know is going to get him, and probably your other staff too, up in arms. Cancel his leave.
 
This isn't an easy decision to make, but you have customers to keep happy. And let's face it, without these customers, William wouldn't have a job to come to anyway!
 
So, you cancel his leave... Now he wants you to pay him back the money he's already spent on his week away.
 
Here's how to handle the situation…
 
***
Case law: Jardine vs Tongaat Huletts [2003] 7 BLLR 717 (LC)

Huletts dismissed Jardine. At that time he was due 48.8 days' annual leave that he hadn't taken while he was working there. The company only paid him for 40 days' leave in line their personnel manual.

Jardine took Huletts to court claiming payment for the other 8.8 days.

What did Huletts say?

Huletts said because they give more leave than what the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) says, the Act didn't apply to them. They also said their leave policy didn't allow employees to accumulate more than 40 days' leave.

***
 Did you know that not forcing your employees to take their annual leave could end up costing you anything up to R15,000 per employee?
 
That's right - employees that don't take leave could be costing you just as much as those that abuse it.
 
That's because any leave an employee takes and carries over to the next financial year will increase the leave bill for your company!
 
That's why I'm excited to introduce you to a resource that completely takes the stress and confusion out of managing annual leave in your company.
 
***

What did the Court decide?
  • The Court agreed that Huletts' leave policy was more favourable than the BCEA.
  • The Court said the BCEA is for the protection of employees where companies deny them annual leave. It said the Act doesn't say the employee has to take leave within six months after the end of the annual leave cycle. And the employee doesn't automatically lose his leave if he doesn't take it within the six months.
  • Although the company didn't have an obligation to pay the extra days because they were more than the statutory minimum, the Court held that Huletts must pay the 8.8 days leave. Because it said the company must read the BCEA together with its policy. In this it created an obligation on their part to make sure Jardine took his annual leave. They hadn't done this.
  • The Court also said Hulett's policy said they keep written records if employees don't take leave. They hadn't done this.
  • And b dismissing Jardine, they'd deprived him of his right to take leave due to circumstances beyond his control.
  • The Company should've had a hearing in terms of its policy before it made the decision to deny him of his excess leave.
  • The Court ordered Hullets to pay Jardine for the 8.8 days' annual leave. 

So, if you also want to make sure an employee doesn't beat you at the CCMA when it comes to leave issues, click here now!

Until next time,


Annabel Koffman

P.S. We've recently updated the Labour Law for Managers to also cover a vital employer obligation that could land you in hot water if you don't comply. Read on here to find out what I'm talking about…


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