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Employment Conditions

Employment Conditions

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Published by anchal1987

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Published by: anchal1987 on Nov 05, 2010
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1. Title of the Act:
Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997
2. Last amendment date
3. Date of summary
March 2005
4. Purpose
To give effect to the right to fair labour practices referred to in section 23(1) of theConstitution by establishing and making provision for the regulation of basicconditions of employment; and thereby to comply with the obligations of the Republicas a member state of the International Labour Organisation; and to provide for mattersconnected therewith.
 5. Overview
A basic condition of employment constitutes a term of any contract of employmentexcept to the extent that:
Any other law provides a term that is more favourable to the employee;
The basic condition of employment has been replaced, varied, or excludedin accordance with the provisions of this Act; or
A term of the contract of employment is more favourable to the employeethan the basic condition of employment.The Act and anything done in terms of it takes precedence over any agreement,whether entered into before or after the commencement of the Act
Chapter 2:
Regulation of working time: In terms of section 7, which applies to all employees,employers must regulate the working time of each employee:
In accordance with the provision of any Act governing occupational healthand safety;
With due regard to the health and safety of employees;
With due regard to the Code of Good Practice on the Regulation of working time which was issued by the Minister;
With due regard to the family responsibilities of employees.The rest of the provisions of this chapter do not apply to senior managerial employees,sales staff who visit the premises of customers and who regulate their own hours of work, and employees who work for less than 24 hours per month.1
Ordinary hours of work: An employer may not require or permit an employee to work more than 45 hours per week and nine hours in any day for an employee who worksfive days or less per week, or eight hours in any day for an employee who works morethan five days a week. An agreement may extend these hours in accordance with theprovisions of the Act. Provision is also made for work which needs to be done withoutdelay due to unforeseen circumstances.Overtime: Overtime may only be worked by agreement. In this regard agreementslapse after certain time periods. Overtime is also limited to ten hours per week.Overtime pay is at least one and one- half times the employee’s wage but anagreement may provide for paid time off in lieu of such payment.An agreement may also allow for a compressed working week.Averaging of hours of work: In terms of a collective agreement, hours of work maybe averaged over a period of up to four months. The Act does however lay downlimitations in this regard.Determination of hours of work by the minister: The Minister may regulate themaximum permitted hours of work, including overtime, that any category of employeemay work on the grounds of health and safety.Meal intervals: These are to be granted after a certain number of continuous hoursworked. This may be varied by written agreement. Payment is due only in instanceswhere an employee is to be available to work or for the portion of the interval thatexceeds 75 minutes. An employee may be expected to work during a meal interval toperform duties that cannot be left unattended.Daily and weekly rest periods: Daily and weekly rest periods are provided for andagain, may be varied slightly by agreement.Sunday work: A distinction in payment is made between employees who ordinarilywork on a Sunday and those who do not. The later receive double time and the former,time and one-half. Pay will vary according to the time worked with a minimum of anormal day’s wage being payable. By agreement, paid time off may also be granted inlieu of payment.Night work: This is performed between 18h00 and 06h00. Certain provisions areapplicable here, most notably the availability (not necessarily provision) of transportation, and obligations imposed on the employer in terms of health and safetyfor employees who undertake night work on a regular basis.Public holidays: This may only be worked by agreement. As with Sunday work, apremium is placed on working such days. The calculations differ according to whetherit falls on what would have been normal working day or not, and obviously whether ornot the employee actually works.2
Chapter 3 - Leave
This chapter does not apply to employees who work less than 24 hours per month.Annual leave: The Act stipulates annual leave to be at least 21 consecutive days (15working days) per annual leave cycle. This may be varied by agreement and becalculated at 1 day’s leave for every 17 days worked, or one hour’s leave for every 17hours worked. Leave must be taken within 6 months of it becoming due.Sick leave: This is granted within a 36 month cycle and entitlement is dependent onthe number of days an employee would normally work within a 6 week period. TheAct limits sick leave within the first 6 months of employment and also stipulates whena sick note is necessary in order to prove incapacity.Maternity leave: An employee is entitled to at least 4 consecutive month’s maternityleave and the Act stipulates when this may start and end. An employee may not work for 6 weeks after the birth of a child, unless a doctor or midwife certifies that she is fitto do so. In the case of a miscarriage or stillbirth, the employee is also entitled to 6weeks maternity leave following the event.Protection of employees before and after birth: This section makes provision for theprotection of a woman who is either pregnant or is nursing a child in terms of work that may be hazardous to either her or her child.Family responsibility leave: This is granted to employees who have been inemployment for at least 4 months and who work at least 4 days per week. The Act setsout the circumstances when such leave may be taken and limits it to three days perannual leave cycle.
Chapter 4 – Particulars of employment and remuneration
This chapter sets out the information that must be provided to an employee in writingand is applicable for all employees who work more than 24 hours per month. Includedin these particulars of employment are factors such as leave entitlement and rate of pay. In all, the Act stipulates 16 particulars which must be provided.An employer must also display a statement of the employees’ rights in terms of theAct, in the required form, in the workplace where it is accessible to the workers.The Act specifies how and where employees may be remunerated as well as how theremuneration should be calculated.Various information must also be given to the employee in writing on each day thatthe employee is paid. Such information includes, inter alia, issues such as the numberof hours worked, the amount paid to the employee, and the employer’s details.Deductions are forbidden unless the employees agrees in writing to such deduction ora law, collective agreement, court order or arbitration award, requires or permits suchdeduction. Provision is made for circumstance when deductions may be made loss ordamage caused by the employee.3

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