The recent ruling ("the ruling") by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration ("the CCMA") which ordered an Employer to pay almost R12 million to its Employees for making unlawful deductions and not complying with the National Minimum Wage laws has hopefully ensured that Employers going forward ensure compliance with labour laws and that they are not in breach of any labours laws, in particular National Minimum Wage laws.
The Ruling comes after the Department of Labour ("the Department") conducted inspections in early 2019 after receiving a series of complaints of alleged gross violations of labour laws against an Employer.
Amongst the transgressions complained of, was the failure by the Employer to issue Employees with employment contracts, forcing Employees to work long hours without overtime compensation as well as not adhering to overtime payment for Employees who work on Sundays and Public Holidays and not granting leave in accordance with the law as well as unlawful deductions from Employees' remuneration.
The Ruling by the CCMA confirms that an Employee who alleges labour law violations by the Employer, can lodge a complaint against the Employer at the Department and the Department will conduct its investigation by appointing an investigator or auditor. In the CCMA's view, this has the practical effect of ensuring that “Employer Watchdogs” recognize the plight of the vulnerable workforce that finds itself in exploitive situations, and that Employees and Employers are aware of the fact that there is recourse against the Employer for labour law violations.
Employers will now have to pay attention to labour law compliance in order to avoid not only being publicly shamed by the Department, but by also incurring hefty penalties.
The National Minimum Wage Act
The National Minimum Wage Act 19 of 2018 ("the Act") came into effect on 1 January 2018 and sets out the fees which various workers in various industries should earn per hour. Employees and Employers alike should certainly educate themselves on the content of the Act as it pertains to their industry to ensure compliance.
The Ruling serves as a stern warning by the Department that they will no longer tolerate the behaviour of Employers trying to circumvent labour laws and it ensures that the rights of the vulnerable workforce are protected.
Contact SchoemanLaw for all your Labour related queries whether you are an Employer or Employee.
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.