Thursday, 20 July 2017
You might think that if you pay your taxes and SARS has never queried anything with you before, then you're safe from an audit but SARS also does random and cyclical audits.
Clear and concise HR policies are important so that employees are able to understand the rules and regulations within the organisation.
Failing to implement policies leaves an organisation open to legal challenges and grievances from the employees, especially if the company inconsistently applies the HR policies to various employees. This can lead to increased costs that affect your profits due to time wasted on not following the procedures.
Most businesses forget that if they don’t have a policy in place to handle situations, common practice becomes the defining policy, regardless of the details.
Finding Shapes in association with Norman Brett and Associates can now assist your company to compile a proper contract of employment - and placing into that contract, all the necessary requirements and policies to bind the employee. It is even becoming more necessary now to embody company policies and procedures into the contract - not all of them, perhaps, but certainly the more important ones.
For more information please contact us!
Monday, 24 April 2017
Reasonable expectation of a permanent position
When considering the wording of section 186(1)(b) it becomes evident that it only applies to one of the above mentioned expectations, being the first mentioned. Very importantly the court in the Dierks case held that having a fixed term contract renewed a couple of times, does not automatically have the consequence of being appointed permanently, nor does it create that expectation.
The above decision was placed into dispute in a further case of McInnes v Technikon Natal, where the exact opposite was held. The latter case focussed on the nature of the expectation and whether it was reasonable to expect permanent employment and if so, that dismissal would be unfair on that basis. The position was placed into more uncertainty after the Auf der Heyde v University of Cape Town case decided that the approach initially followed in Dierks was correct and thus that section 186(1)(b) does not include a reasonable expectation of permanent employment. And would thus not result in an unfair dismissal.
The question thus arises as to what is the current position after all the uncertainty created above.
There is unfortunately, as yet, not concise answer, as it can still be argued that there is no reason why a reasonable expectation of a permanent employment should not be covered by section 186(1)(b) which is based on the fact that the purpose of the provision is to prevent employers from keeping employees on fixed term contracts.
The fact of the matter is that as a minimum, an employee’s expectation of renewal of his/her contract will be protected as is further cemented in the case of SA Rugby v CCMA, but whether such an expectation of permanent employment falls under the specific section remains arguable.
Tuesday, 28 March 2017
HR Basics for Small Business
HR is a minefield of laws, regulations and requirements. For most small businesses (fewer than 50 employees) there are basic requirements for a sensible, practical HR program.
These basic requirements are:
- Creation and maintenance of employee files
- Publication of an employee handbook with certain policies
Without question, there is a lot more to HR than the items listed above. But with regard to compliance with HR rules and regulations, this is where owners of a small business need to start.
You should create and maintain a separate file for each of your employees. This file is where you keep all of the information you collect on employees, such as:
- Resumes and employment applications
- Offer letters, employment agreements or contracts
- Payroll information
- Basic employment data including
- Information about participation in benefit programs
- Awards, recognition or disciplinary documents
- Performance evaluations
- Termination documentation and exit interview information
It's best to assume all this information is confidential, so keep these files in a secure location. Only people with a compelling business reason should have access to these files.
Employee Handbook with Company Policies
An employee handbook is the centerpiece of an effective HR program. The employee handbook explains your company's policies and procedures, and communicates your expectations to employees. A good handbook also helps to protect your company in the event of a dispute.
As with many issues surrounding HR, the policies you include in your handbook can be comprehensive to the point of being ridiculous. For most small companies, an employee handbook with the following policies makes sense:
Employment in General
- Introductory Statement – Purpose of the Handbook
- Employment Equity Policy
- New Hire Policy
- Policy Against Harassment and Discrimination
- Open Door Policy
- Confidential Information
- Computer Use Policy
- Social Media Policy
- Employment Categories
- Work Hours
- Alcohol and Drug Policy
- Personal Appearance Policy
- Return of Property
- Solicitation Policy
Timekeeping and Payroll
- Timekeeping Procedures
- Pay Deductions
- Violence in the Workplace
- Workplace Safety
- Drug Free Workplace Policy
- Grievance Policy
- Employee Conduct and Disciplinary Action
- Sick Leave
- Personal Leave
- Bereavement Leave
- Maternity/Paternity Leave
- Workman's Compensation Insurance
- Business Expense Reimbursement
IMPORTANT NOTE: Creating your employee handbook is a crucial first step. But it's also critical that your employees read the handbook and agree to your policies as a condition of their employment. The best practice is to ask employees to acknowledge their acceptance and to store that acknowledgement in case it's needed in the future.
Creating an employee handbook with the all the necessary policies seems like a daunting task. But Finding Shapes in association with Norman Brett & Associates will help you get it done.
www.normanbrett.co.za | 0823892264
Article by Jack Hayhow