2013 is proving to be an interesting year with mixed fortunes for most companies and seems to have been a very busy year with continual challenges.
Submission dates for skills plans and reports have come and gone and we are currently liaising with the SETA’s to determine the opportunities that are available for discretionary and PIVOTAL grants (PIVOTAL being an acronym which means professional, vocational, technical and academic learning programmes in qualifications or part qualifications on the National Qualifications Framework). Kindly contact your SDF for full details.
There seems to be some confusion with regard to the information that will be required for the next submission and some SETA’s are indicating that they will change the skills year to accommodate the earlier reporting period required by the Minister of Higher Education and Training. As indicated in the last Update, the regulations state that the WSP and ATR would need to be submitted by 30 April annually. We will keep you informed of the requirements as well as any funding opportunities in the form of discretionary and mandatory grants.
Amendments to the Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act were published in 2010 and have not yet been passed. The Acts were referred back to NEDLAC where they spent two years being refined and then were referred back to Parliament. In the last session of Parliament the Labour Relations Act was presented and some changes were made by the ANC Parliamentarians. These had to do with the length of time that an employee can be employed in a core function through a Labour Broker before becoming a permanent employee and the issue of a strike ballot. The act failed to be passed as the number of parliamentarians present did not reach the quorum required in parliament to pass it. Presumably it will be passed in the next session.
The Amendment to the Employment Equity Act which has also been in process since 2010 is currently being debated in parliament.
Determination: Earning Threshold
The Earnings threshold was increased to R193 805-00 per annum. In the gazette the definition of earnings is defined as “salary before deductions i.e. income tax, pension, medical aid, and similar payments, but excluding similar payments (contributions) made by the employer in respect of the employee”.
This represents an amount of R16 150-00 per month.
What this means is that any person earning below this threshold is entitled to:
- Meal Intervals
- Ordinary working hours,
- Daily and weekly rest periods,
- Pay for work on Sundays and
- Compliance with the Basic Conditions of Employment’s Act with regard to compressed working weeks, averaging of hours, maximum working hours and night work.
More importantly, employees earning below the threshold who sign contracts of employment which are not in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment can have their contracts declared invalid by the CCMA or Labour Court.
The earnings threshold has increased significantly over the last two years and it may be necessary for Companies to review their overtime policies for employees who are now below the earnings threshold, but may be in a position where their hours of work are not really controlled, e.g. an administrative position.
Proposed Amendment to the Unemployment Insurance Act
The Minister of Labour has published a bill proposing long awaited improvements in the Unemployment Insurance Benefits. Hopefully this bill will not take three years to move from bill to action. The proposed amendments are far reaching, but include the following:
- Extending the UIF fund to learners, civil servants and foreign workers
This has been confusing for employers who typically pay for UIF for all their employees and then find that the foreign workers and learners are not entitled to benefits. The intention is that all employees will be covered.
- Allowing the UIF fund to finance the retention of employees in employment and the re-entry of contributors into the labour market.
This amendment is not really explained. We understand this to refer to the current retrenchment lay-off fund which assists employees who are being retrenched to be retrained, either to work in another position in their current employment or to move to a new industry.
- Improvement in benefits
The proposed improvement in benefits is outlined below:
|BENEFIT||CURRENT BENEFIT||PROPOSED BENEFIT|
|Maternity||Paid at 60% of salary to a maximum of R8 923.20 per month||Paid at 66% of salary to a maximum of R9 815.52 per month|
|Accrual Rate for benefits||Entitlement of 1 days UIF for every 6 days of contribution to a maximum benefit of 238 calendar days||Entitlement of 1 days UIF for every 4 days of contribution to a maximum benefit of 365 calendar days|
|Benefit for Unemployment||Sliding scale depending on income to a maximum of 60% of earnings for the 238 days||Sliding scale depending on income to a maximum of 60% of earnings for the 238 days and then 20% of earning for the next 127 days|
|Unemployment benefits must be paid to the unemployed contributor regardless of whether the contributor has received benefits within that four year cycle or not if the contributor has credits.|
|The payment of maternity benefits may not affect the payment of unemployment benefits|
|The period of unemployment is calculated from date of unemployment unless the claims officer is satisfied that any delay in making the application was caused by circumstances beyond the control of the contributor||The period of unemployment is deemed not to have commenced until the contributor has lodged an application for befits with the Fund and the date of unemployment is deemed to be the date of application for benefits.|
|Application for unemployment insurance must be made within six months of the termination of the contract of employment||Application for unemployment insurance must be made within twelve months of the termination of the contract of employment|
|Illness benefit||A contributor is not entitled to illness benefits if the period of illness is less than 14 days||A contributor is not entitled to illness benefits if the period of illness is less than 7 days|
|Maternity||An employee who has a miscarriage during the 3rd trimester of bears a still-born child is entitled to six weeks maternity benefit.||An employee who has a miscarriage during the 3rd trimester of bears a still-born child is entitled to full maternity benefit of 17 to 32 weeks|
|An employee is not entitled to benefits unless she was in employment, whether as a contributor or not, for at least 13 weeks before the date of application for maternity benefits|
|Dependents Benefit||Application for dependents benefit must be made within six months of the death of the contributor||Application for dependents benefit must be made within eighteen months of the death of a contributor|
|Any dependent child of a deceased contributor is entitled to the dependents benefit||Any nominated beneficiary of the deceased contributor may claim dependents benefits. A nominated beneficiary will qualify for benefits if there is no surviving spouse, life partner or dependent children of the deceased contributor|
We welcome these changes which will make it much easier for claimants to access their benefits and will improve the benefits available. We do anticipate regular increases in the maximum contribution level so that employees who earn more than R14 872-00 per month are given a higher level of insurance by the fund. Given the UIF funds current reserves, they can afford to do this.
The Sectoral Agreements are amended annually to define new minimum salaries and increases in those industries. There are currently 11 Determinations, the largest of which are for the Wholesale and Retail Industry, Hospitality Industry, Contract Cleaning and Security Sector. The Farm Workers agreement is drawing a great deal of attention currently. Recent amendments have given the following increases
|INDUSTRY||NEW MINIMUM RATE||PREVIOUS MINIMUM RATE||PERCENTAGE INCREASE||MINIMUM INCREASE 2014|
|Contract Cleaning||R14,45 per hour||R13,51 per hour||6,95%||CPI +2%|
|Farmworkers||R11,66 per hour||R7,71 per hour||51,23%||CPI +1.5%|
|Hospitality||Below 10 Employees
R12.39 per hour
|Below 10 Employees
R11,49 per hour
|Above 10 Employees
R13,81 per hour
|Above 10 Employees
R12.80 per hour
|Wholesale Industry||Varies from R27,37 to R12,69 depending on position||Varies from R25.68 to R11.79 depending on position||6,58% at the top and 7,46% at the bottom|
EMPLOYMENT EQUITY COMMITTEE TRAINING
Companies are required to comply with the Employment Equity and Skills Development Acts. The Code of Good Practice suggests that all Employment Equity /Skills Development Committee members are empowered with the latest knowledge and information relating to Employment Equity and Skills Development.
The Employment Equity committee training programme offers a guideline to both the Employment Equity and Skills Development Legislation.
This training programme is aimed at those Employment Equity and Skills Development committee members who are newly appointed or those who have not received the required training.
By attending this programme, participants will gain an understanding in Employment Equity and Skills Development in the South African context. Participants will clearly understand their role as an EE committee member.
We will be running a public Employment Equity Committee Training course on 12 September 2013 from 08h30 to 13h30 at a cost of R550-00 (excl VAT) per delegate which includes the venue, training material, refreshments and a light lunch.
Please contact Tessa at our offices on 011-452 1707 to book your place.
We will be also be starting a new Leadership Development Training Course in October 2013 as well as public courses for our Life Skills Training.
The Leadership Development Training Course runs for 1 day per month for 10 months and is aimed at Line Managers. Content of the course includes Performance Management, Strategic Planning, Team Building, Coaching and Industrial Relations.
We have been asked to provide training for Senior Managers and are in the process of co-ordinating a programme which is aimed at this level.
Anyone who would be interested in attending or having staff attend please contact Tessa at our offices on 011-452 1707.
PERFORMANCE MANAGEMENT SYSTEM
Our alliance with Select Strategy Inc., a company based in Boston USA is growing. Their Performance Management system is computer based and can be adapted to any work place and allows companies to control and drive their performance management measures more effectively. If you are interested in seeing a demonstration of the system please contact Desrae or Kevin at our offices on 011-452 1707.
RECRUITMENT / PERSONALITY PROFILE ANALYSIS
In addition to our standard PPA Profile report, we are now able to offer the option of a Leadership Skills Analysis Report based on the candidate’s completed PPA.
This report highlights the candidate’s Personal Leadership Style and Training and Development Needs with specific focus on the following in relation to a Leadership Role:
- Likely Leadership Strengths
- Potential Leadership Limitations
- General Communication
- Presentation Style
- Decision Making Style
- Meeting Deadlines and Time Management
- Goal Focus
- Ensuring Quality and Accuracy
- Planning and Problem Solving
- Handling Criticism and Aggression
- Achieving Effective Results and Innovating
For further information and pricing, please contact Andrea at our offices on 011-452 1707
Please contact our offices on Tel: 011-452 1707 for any further information relating to the above.
Desrae & staff