Labour Law in South Africa

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Proposed Amendments to South Africa’s Labor Law Landscape

On December 2010, the South African government proposed amendments to existing labor legislation and new measures by means of the Employment Service Bill. As these proposed amendments are numerous, this paper does not intend to represent an exhaustive analysis of the new legislative landscape. Rather, the analysis focuses on a few major themes which I consider of particular interest. Alternative perspectives of business and labor organizations are presented.

1. Labor Law Reforms: In December of 2010, South Africa’s government offered up a series of potential changes to its labor laws. This was mostly done through amending several existing labor acts including The Labour Relations Act (LRA), Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BEC), Employment Equity Act (EEA) and also the Employment Services Bill (ESB). Following the introduction of sweeping amendments to these acts, public outcry, political debate and criticisms emerged from businesses, employees, trade unions and the like. After a prolonged period of debate, the amendments were ultimately repealed.

2. Principal Proposed Changes: Below are some of the major areas of changes in the various laws above which were later repealed.

➢ Enforcing Employment Equity & Reducing Unfair Discrimination

The changes proposed in this area were largely directed toward strengthening enforcement of the EEA. The changes essentially empowered the Director General to instigate fines for employers who failed to comply with EEA prescriptions. In detail, such fines were calculated as a percentage of annual company turnover, varying from 2% to 10%. Moreover, reporting frequency on the part of companies increased markedly following the amendments. Employers of 50-150 employees for example, were suddenly required to submit periodic reports on the status of their EEA implementation. Employers were allowed to set targets for demographic...
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