South Africa: Long Awaited Amendments To The Labour Relations Act (LRA) Published

Last Updated: 17 September 2014
Article by Stuart Harrison, Ross Alcock and Brian Patterson

Most Read Contributor in South Africa, September 2018

The long awaited amendments to the LRA were finally published on Monday 18 August 2014. The date on which the amendments will come into operation is still to be fixed by the President, but the amendments are at least now in final form.

Once operative, the amendments will have far reaching consequences in a number of areas of labour relations, perhaps most prominently in relation to the regulation of forms of atypical employment, particularly the use of labour brokers, fixed term and part-time employees, but also in relation to organisational rights, picketing and other areas.

Atypical employment

Key changes in this area include the following:

  • Limiting the use of labour broker workers to genuinely temporary needs. For workers earning below the BCEA earnings threshold (currently just over R205,000 p.a.), if the worker is not performing a "temporary service" for the client (e.g. work lasting less than 3 months, replacing an absent employee, etc.), then not only is the client deemed to be the employer of the labour broker worker (with joint unfair dismissal liability, etc.), but the worker is also entitled to be treated on the whole not less favourably than an employee of the client performing the same or similar work, unless there is a "justifiable reason" for different treatment. A "justifiable reason" is limited to the application of a system that takes into account seniority, experience or length of service, merit, the quality or quantity of work performed or other criteria of a similar nature.
  • Employers can only employ employees on a fixed term contract or a successive fixed term contract for longer than 3 months if the nature of the work is of a genuinely limited or definite duration or if the employer can demonstrate a justifiable reason for fixing the term of the contract. Justifiable reasons are defined and include replacing a temporarily absent employee, meeting a temporary increase (i.e. less than 12 months) in the volume of work, seasonal work, etc. If the fixed term employment does not meet these requirements, the employee is deemed to be employed indefinitely and must be treated no less favourably than an employee employed on a permanent basis performing the same or similar work, unless there is a justifiable reason for different treatment. These protections only do not apply, however, to workers earning above the BCEA earnings threshold and to small or new employers (i.e. those employing less than 10 employees or employing less than 50 where the business has been in operation for less than two years).
  • There are similar protections for part-time employees. Taking into account the working hours of the part-time employee, an employer must treat him or her on the whole not less favourably than a comparable full time employee doing the same or similar work, again unless there is a justifiable reason for different treatment. Part-time employees are also expressly now entitled to equal access to training, skills development and vacancies. As with the regulations on fixed term employees, these protections do not apply to workers earning above the BCEA earnings threshold and to small or new employers. The protections also do not apply during the first three months of part-time employment.

In anticipation of this new regulatory regime, employers should review their use of and contracts with labour brokers, fixed term contract and part-time employees, to assess whether they meet these new requirements and, if not, to develop plans to move towards compliance and/or mitigate risks.


Although there were reports in the media of the LRA's strike provisions being revisited with a view to introducing a pre-strike ballot requirement, no such requirement made it into the final amendments.

Picketing and organisational rights

Landlords will need to take notice of the aspects of the amendments that now allow for the possibility of protected picketing on a landlord's premises by the striking workers of a tenant. The CCMA will be empowered to make picketing rules allowing for protected picketing on the premises of a person other than the employer who is the subject of the strike, provided that person is given the opportunity to participate in the CCMA proceedings where the picketing rules are determined. This is an important development for those who own or control shopping malls or industrial or office parks as unions may well seek picketing rights on these premises and closer to the space rented by the tenant employer.

Organisational rights are to become more accessible to unions, as departures from the established majority and sufficient representation thresholds for the different types of organisational rights are provided for in the amendments. Clients of labour brokers and landlords can also now be bound by organisational rights (such as access to the premises to recruit members) awarded to unions.

Other changes

The amendments also include a range of other changes aimed primarily at enhancing the effectiveness of the CCMA and the Labour Court, rectifying anomalies and clarifying uncertainties that have arisen in the LRA over the years.

The date on which the amendments will become operative is uncertain, but the latest indication from the Department is that it may be before the end of October 2014.

The content of this article is intended to provide a general guide to the subject matter. Specialist advice should be sought about your specific circumstances.

To print this article, all you need is to be registered on

Click to Login as an existing user or Register so you can print this article.

Some comments from our readers…
“The articles are extremely timely and highly applicable”
“I often find critical information not available elsewhere”
“As in-house counsel, Mondaq’s service is of great value”

Related Topics
Related Articles
Up-coming Events Search
Font Size:
Mondaq on Twitter
Register for Access and our Free Biweekly Alert for
This service is completely free. Access 250,000 archived articles from 100+ countries and get a personalised email twice a week covering developments (and yes, our lawyers like to think you’ve read our Disclaimer).
Email Address
Company Name
Confirm Password
Mondaq Topics -- Select your Interests
 Law Performance
 Law Practice
 Media & IT
 Real Estate
 Wealth Mgt
Asia Pacific
European Union
Latin America
Middle East
United States
Worldwide Updates
Registration (you must scroll down to set your data preferences)

Mondaq Ltd requires you to register and provide information that personally identifies you, including your content preferences, for three primary purposes (full details of Mondaq’s use of your personal data can be found in our Privacy and Cookies Notice):

  • To allow you to personalize the Mondaq websites you are visiting to show content ("Content") relevant to your interests.
  • To enable features such as password reminder, news alerts, email a colleague, and linking from Mondaq (and its affiliate sites) to your website.
  • To produce demographic feedback for our content providers ("Contributors") who contribute Content for free for your use.

Mondaq hopes that our registered users will support us in maintaining our free to view business model by consenting to our use of your personal data as described below.

Mondaq has a "free to view" business model. Our services are paid for by Contributors in exchange for Mondaq providing them with access to information about who accesses their content. Once personal data is transferred to our Contributors they become a data controller of this personal data. They use it to measure the response that their articles are receiving, as a form of market research. They may also use it to provide Mondaq users with information about their products and services.

Details of each Contributor to which your personal data will be transferred is clearly stated within the Content that you access. For full details of how this Contributor will use your personal data, you should review the Contributor’s own Privacy Notice.

Please indicate your preference below:

Yes, I am happy to support Mondaq in maintaining its free to view business model by agreeing to allow Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors whose Content I access
No, I do not want Mondaq to share my personal data with Contributors

Also please let us know whether you are happy to receive communications promoting products and services offered by Mondaq:

Yes, I am happy to received promotional communications from Mondaq
No, please do not send me promotional communications from Mondaq
Terms & Conditions (the Website) is owned and managed by Mondaq Ltd (Mondaq). Mondaq grants you a non-exclusive, revocable licence to access the Website and associated services, such as the Mondaq News Alerts (Services), subject to and in consideration of your compliance with the following terms and conditions of use (Terms). Your use of the Website and/or Services constitutes your agreement to the Terms. Mondaq may terminate your use of the Website and Services if you are in breach of these Terms or if Mondaq decides to terminate the licence granted hereunder for any reason whatsoever.

Use of

To Use you must be: eighteen (18) years old or over; legally capable of entering into binding contracts; and not in any way prohibited by the applicable law to enter into these Terms in the jurisdiction which you are currently located.

You may use the Website as an unregistered user, however, you are required to register as a user if you wish to read the full text of the Content or to receive the Services.

You may not modify, publish, transmit, transfer or sell, reproduce, create derivative works from, distribute, perform, link, display, or in any way exploit any of the Content, in whole or in part, except as expressly permitted in these Terms or with the prior written consent of Mondaq. You may not use electronic or other means to extract details or information from the Content. Nor shall you extract information about users or Contributors in order to offer them any services or products.

In your use of the Website and/or Services you shall: comply with all applicable laws, regulations, directives and legislations which apply to your Use of the Website and/or Services in whatever country you are physically located including without limitation any and all consumer law, export control laws and regulations; provide to us true, correct and accurate information and promptly inform us in the event that any information that you have provided to us changes or becomes inaccurate; notify Mondaq immediately of any circumstances where you have reason to believe that any Intellectual Property Rights or any other rights of any third party may have been infringed; co-operate with reasonable security or other checks or requests for information made by Mondaq from time to time; and at all times be fully liable for the breach of any of these Terms by a third party using your login details to access the Website and/or Services

however, you shall not: do anything likely to impair, interfere with or damage or cause harm or distress to any persons, or the network; do anything that will infringe any Intellectual Property Rights or other rights of Mondaq or any third party; or use the Website, Services and/or Content otherwise than in accordance with these Terms; use any trade marks or service marks of Mondaq or the Contributors, or do anything which may be seen to take unfair advantage of the reputation and goodwill of Mondaq or the Contributors, or the Website, Services and/or Content.

Mondaq reserves the right, in its sole discretion, to take any action that it deems necessary and appropriate in the event it considers that there is a breach or threatened breach of the Terms.

Mondaq’s Rights and Obligations

Unless otherwise expressly set out to the contrary, nothing in these Terms shall serve to transfer from Mondaq to you, any Intellectual Property Rights owned by and/or licensed to Mondaq and all rights, title and interest in and to such Intellectual Property Rights will remain exclusively with Mondaq and/or its licensors.

Mondaq shall use its reasonable endeavours to make the Website and Services available to you at all times, but we cannot guarantee an uninterrupted and fault free service.

Mondaq reserves the right to make changes to the services and/or the Website or part thereof, from time to time, and we may add, remove, modify and/or vary any elements of features and functionalities of the Website or the services.

Mondaq also reserves the right from time to time to monitor your Use of the Website and/or services.


The Content is general information only. It is not intended to constitute legal advice or seek to be the complete and comprehensive statement of the law, nor is it intended to address your specific requirements or provide advice on which reliance should be placed. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers make no representations about the suitability of the information contained in the Content for any purpose. All Content provided "as is" without warranty of any kind. Mondaq and/or its Contributors and other suppliers hereby exclude and disclaim all representations, warranties or guarantees with regard to the Content, including all implied warranties and conditions of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, title and non-infringement. To the maximum extent permitted by law, Mondaq expressly excludes all representations, warranties, obligations, and liabilities arising out of or in connection with all Content. In no event shall Mondaq and/or its respective suppliers be liable for any special, indirect or consequential damages or any damages whatsoever resulting from loss of use, data or profits, whether in an action of contract, negligence or other tortious action, arising out of or in connection with the use of the Content or performance of Mondaq’s Services.


Mondaq may alter or amend these Terms by amending them on the Website. By continuing to Use the Services and/or the Website after such amendment, you will be deemed to have accepted any amendment to these Terms.

These Terms shall be governed by and construed in accordance with the laws of England and Wales and you irrevocably submit to the exclusive jurisdiction of the courts of England and Wales to settle any dispute which may arise out of or in connection with these Terms. If you live outside the United Kingdom, English law shall apply only to the extent that English law shall not deprive you of any legal protection accorded in accordance with the law of the place where you are habitually resident ("Local Law"). In the event English law deprives you of any legal protection which is accorded to you under Local Law, then these terms shall be governed by Local Law and any dispute or claim arising out of or in connection with these Terms shall be subject to the non-exclusive jurisdiction of the courts where you are habitually resident.

You may print and keep a copy of these Terms, which form the entire agreement between you and Mondaq and supersede any other communications or advertising in respect of the Service and/or the Website.

No delay in exercising or non-exercise by you and/or Mondaq of any of its rights under or in connection with these Terms shall operate as a waiver or release of each of your or Mondaq’s right. Rather, any such waiver or release must be specifically granted in writing signed by the party granting it.

If any part of these Terms is held unenforceable, that part shall be enforced to the maximum extent permissible so as to give effect to the intent of the parties, and the Terms shall continue in full force and effect.

Mondaq shall not incur any liability to you on account of any loss or damage resulting from any delay or failure to perform all or any part of these Terms if such delay or failure is caused, in whole or in part, by events, occurrences, or causes beyond the control of Mondaq. Such events, occurrences or causes will include, without limitation, acts of God, strikes, lockouts, server and network failure, riots, acts of war, earthquakes, fire and explosions.

By clicking Register you state you have read and agree to our Terms and Conditions