What an interesting year this has proved to be! Globally and locally there have been changes politically and technologically. It has been a very long and tough year where we seem to have taken one step forward and two steps back. COP17 may not achieve very much, but the issues around climate change seem to me to be more seriously considered than before. Maybe the extreme weather we all seem to be experiencing is starting to make those in power take notice.
In 2000 the Promotion of Access to Information Act was passed and required that all companies compile a manual containing information about the Company which was to be sent the Human Rights Commission so that anyone seeking information about your Company can access it. The act says:
Within six months after the commencement of this section or the coming into existence of the private body concerned, the head of a private body must compile a manual containing–
Having issued an instruction to this effect, small businesses were then told that they did not have to submit the information at that time. It appears that they now do have to do so and that this has to be delivered to the Human Rights Commission by the 31st December 2011.
It is a really easy process and the Human Rights Council has a template of a suggested manual on their website. If anyone would like a copy of the specimen they can contact firstname.lastname@example.org and I will forward it to you.
The Skills Development Amendment Act which was published on the 12th October 2011 and will be introduced into parliament early next year. This revises the proposed bill published in April this year which caused consternation in the skills world and led to two court challenges of the Minister by the Services SETA. The Services SETA were successful in both cases.
The act is required because it legitimises the Department of Higher Education and Training’s authority to manage SETA’s. They have been doing this since 2009 without any legislation to support them as the Act refers to the Department of Labour as being responsible for Skills Development.
In addition to this, an amendment to the Skills Act passed in December 2008 has never been promulgated, so we have been operating in a legal limbo since then.
The amendments to the act are much less draconian in terms of the powers of the Minister and the clauses propose amendments to sections in the Act that make provision for-
The Act says that the need to amend the provisions in question was identified in order to strengthen the relationship between the SETAs and the Minister and to explicitly spell out the responsibilities of the Minister in this regard in order to enhance the effectiveness of the SETAs in the performance of their functions.
The passing of the act will remove the responsibilities that SETA’s currently have to accredit training providers and move this responsibility to the Department of Higher Education and Training.
The proposed amendments to the Labour Relations Act, Employment Equity Act and Basic Conditions of Employment Act are expected to be published in the next two weeks. NEDLAC has missed the 15 November 2011 deadline set by the Minister of Labour and they have been requested to speed up the deliberation process. We wait with interest to see what happens.
An employer is entitled to request proof of illness from an employee who is sick for more than two days or has been absent for one day on more than two occasions in an eight week period. This proof must be in the form of a medical certificate issued and signed by a medical practitioner or person who is certified to diagnose and treat patients and who is registered with a professional council.
Recently we have found that where there is abuse of sick leave employees are producing:
The Department of Labour has indicated that these notes can be rejected by the employer who can then refuse to pay sick leave to the employee. Even though traditional healers may have practice numbers on their certificates, there are no traditional healers who are registered with a professional body, i.e. the Medical and Dental Council. If you wish to amend your sick leave procedures in line with this provision, please contact Tessa Lourens at our offices.
Despite a very tough economy in 2011 and a daunting skills shortage Connold and Associates managed to place a number of individuals in sought after positions with our clients. On this note we would like to introduce you to a few of the exceptional candidates we interviewed during the course of the year. One of them may be just what you are looking for to fill your staff needs in 2012!
For further information with regard to these candidates please contact Debby Becker at our offices.
In conjunction with Chartered Wealth we ran a very successful seminar entitled Retiring Successfully. The seminar was aimed at addressing the challenges facing all of us when faced with the prospect of retiring, i.e.:
The general consensus was that we should be running these seminars for people in their late 30s and early 40‘s as for many people the investment questions should have been addressed much earlier in their working careers.
We intend to have more of these seminars, but we would like to introduce you to Chartered Wealth’s website entitled retire successfully at www.retiresuccessfully.co.za. The website has interesting articles and a calculator so that you can work out if you actually do have enough money invested to retire.
If you are interested in attending a seminar please contact Matthew Rudolph at our offices.
It is the time of the year when the Minister of Labour gazettes the new minimum salaries for Domestic Workers. Unlike last year, she has not specified a minimum increase, although it is defined as CPI for the lowest quintile as released by the Department of Statistics in the six weeks before the increment date of 1 December 2011. According to the Department of Statistics this was set at 6%, so the increase should be 7% for the year. However the new minimum rates for Domestic workers (based on a 45 hours week) are as follows:
R 8-34 per hour — an increase of 8.3% over last year
R 375-19 per week — an increase of 7.88% over last year
R1625-70 — an increase of 7.92% over last year.
It would appear that an 8% increase is the intended figure for this year.
The salary for contract cleaners has also recently been increased.
We hope that you have had a successful year and that you take the time to relax and get to know your families again over the holiday period. Next year will be a busy year as it is a reporting year for Employment Equity for all our clients.
Travel safely if you are going away and we look forward to a happy and prosperous New Year for all of us.