It seems hard to believe that we are four years into the new century already and that we are celebrating 10 years of democracy. The last 10 years have seen many changes for the country and it seems that we are at the start of a very optimistic period for South Africa. I have even heard journalists say that we are a lucky country.
This is going to be a very busy year for the Human Resource field as a number of legal challenges are facing us once again.
The act has been in force for four years now and we have to submit reports for all compliant companies by 30 September 2004. Recent newspaper reports are stating that the Department of Labour is “carrying out a blitz” to ensure enforcement of the act. (See attached articles).
As a reminder, companies have to comply with the act if they employ more than 50 people or if they have a turnover more than that reflected in the table below
|SECTOR OR SUBSECTIONS IN ACCORDANCE WITH THE STANDARD INDUSTRIAL CLASSIFICATION||TOTAL ANNUAL TURNOVER|
|Mining and Quarrying||R7.5 million|
|Electricity Gas and Water||R10 million|
|Retail and Motor Trade and Repair Services||R15 million|
|Wholesale Trade, Commercial Agents and Allied Services||R25 Million|
|Catering Accommodation and other Trade||R5 million|
|Transport, Storage and Communications||R10 million|
|Finance and Business Services||R10 million|
|Community, Social and Personal Services||R5 million|
If your company has exceeded these targets since our last analysis and you have not submitted a plan, please contact our offices. Companies are encouraged to voluntarily comply with the act, particularly if they wish to obtain government contracts.
The Employment Equity Act plans submitted so far expire on 1 October 2006. We await with interest so see how the government will react to the Employment Equity achievements of business on this date.
BLACK ECONOMIC EMPOWERMENT
This appears to be the next large challenge for business in South Africa and many of our clients are feeling the pressure from their clients to develop a BEE policy and to plan for some form of black ownership in the near future. The Black Economic Empowerment The Broad-based Black Economic Empowerment Act was signed on 9th January 2004 and we are awaiting a promulgation date. The Act empowers the Minister of Trade and Industry Alec Erwin to issue codes of good practice on empowerment, and also makes provision for the establishment of a BEE Advisory Council. This will bring certainty as to what companies need to do in order to ensure BEE compliance by the suppliers and meet the BEE requirements of their customers. We are developing a BEE policy for inclusion in the Policy and Procedure manual.
We are nearing the end of year 4 and those companies who have submitted workplace skills plans need to ensure that at least 65% of the training planned has in fact been carried out in terms of the SETA requirements. We will be reporting on training activities from April 2004 in order to ensure repayment of grants.
Preparation of workplace skills plans for year 5 will begin from 1 April and we will therefore be contacting all our clients to ensure that they maximize the money that SETA makes available.
The SETA’s are progressing well in terms of making discretionary money available and in terms of the learnerships which have been developed, and a number of our clients have successfully implemented ABET training which is being fully paid for by the SETA applicable or who have been successful in obtaining discretionary grants to pay for the training.
The guidelines for claiming grants for year 5 indicate that the process will be very similar to last year. Please contact Jane for more information.
Most of our clients are identifying training as a strategic need for them to be competitive, particularly with regard to the achievement of employment equity requirements. We are assisting a number of clients to implement learnership programmes and have been very happy with the success of ABET training implemented with the assistance of Media Works. Our Customer Awareness and Life Skills programmes are also proving popular. For more details of our training programmes please contact Sasha or Desrae.
DEFINITION OF WHAT IS REMUNERATION
In our July 2003 update we sent out a copy of the amendment to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act with regard to the definition of what is remuneration. Because of the clause in the Act, which states that if a person’s remuneration fluctuates, when calculating leave pay you must look at the average earning s over the last 13 weeks. This has been interpreted by the Department of Labour as including overtime and commission. We need to consider the wording in Letters of Appointment in order that we don’t incur expensive liabilities.
We traditionally review our fees during the month of January for implementation in February. Attached please find our fee schedule for the next 12 months. Please contact us to discuss the fees and also services which we provide which you may not have been aware that we offer.
Wynne-Jones & Company, together with Andrew Levy Publications are compiling a salary survey which will cover the salaries of smaller companies as well as the larger corporates. The survey will be available to all participating companies at a cost of R1 500-00. It will be a general survey which should cover all industries. Clients who are interested in participating should contact Lynette at our offices.
We are experiencing an increasing need from our clients to provide a wellness programme. This generally takes the form of a need for HIV/Aids guidance, trauma counseling and dealing with incapacity caused by ill health. We are negotiating with Careways, a company which provides wellness programmes for corporates. The service includes a 24 hours call centre of medical professionals to provide advice and to refer staff to the appropriate professional in their area. They also carry out pre-employment and executive medicals, insurance medicals and provide HIV/AIDs counseling and training. Their service has not been available to small to medium enterprises as they charge a monthly retainer, however, we are hoping to put together a product, which will be affordable and will suit our clients. Desrae will discuss this product with each of our clients over the next month.
New SARS requirements state that companies should have a record of all clients’ VAT numbers in order to assist us in complying with this regulation could you please e-mail to accounts@connold your VAT number.
Wishing you success for the months ahead.