Broadened application of the provisions in the Basic Conditions
of Employment Act could have major consequences for business -
particularly in sectors such as agriculture.
This is the view of Jacques van Wyk, director and employment law
specialist at Werksmans Attorneys. He says, "The recent
announcement by the Free State Labour Department that farms in the
province would be inspected for labour law compliance, comes on the
back of changes to the earnings threshold under the Basic
Conditions of Employment Act that extend the applicability of the
BCEA and will entitled more employees to benefits under that
The announcement, which came shortly before the amendment to the
Basic Conditions of Employment Act earnings threshold became
effective on 1 July, should be seen in a broader context, says van
"By announcing that farmers, who have traditionally been
major employers in the Free State, are to be assessed in terms of
'wages, hours of employment, leave and other legislation such
as termination of employment, remuneration, deductions and written
particulars of employment,' the authorities are giving notice
that the Act will be strictly applied to all those who now qualify
for protection under it."
The cost implications of this action could be substantial for
businesses across various sectors.
"Non-compliance with the broadened scope of application of
the Basic Conditions of Employment Act will be enforced through the
levying of penalties and even court action. Employers found wanting
could find themselves bearing major additional costs," says
"Besides coping with tough trading conditions caused by the
present recessionary climate and spiralling input costs, employers
now face increased obligations in respect of leave, overtime pay,
enhanced pay for work on Sundays and Public Holidays. This
will undoubtedly impact their bottom lines" continues van Wyk.
The effects are likely to be seen in increased administration and
labour costs as a result of the increased number of people to whom
the rate for overtime pay and other benefits applies.
The position of employees seeking to enforce their rights
through the labour courts is also strengthened.
"It is essential that employers engage their employees
regarding the changes that impact them and ensure that all records
are maintained and available for inspection by the relevant
authorities," concludes van Wyk.
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Employees must understand the notice periods stipulated by law. When an employee gives notice of their resignation to an employer, they is advising the employer that they will cease to work for the employer from a certain date.
Nigeria is a federal constitutional republic located on the west coast of Africa. Modern Nigeria has its origins as a British colony through the 19th and 20th century until it achieved independence in 1960.
The jurisprudential basis is pithily expressed as staying in sync with the global position on employment relationship, easily summed up as "International Labour Standard" and "International Best Practice".
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