Effective Application of Labour Law for Business Operations

Make sure that you know how to appoint the right people for your organisation, manage your employees effectively in a fair and productive workplace and be prepared for ending employment in a way that benefits all.

The Tool

  • Is based on South Africa’s labour laws and the material and institutional knowledge of the CCMA, which is the premier repository of information on labour relations best practice.
  • Provides step by step guide on what is required and easy to understand self-help tools to implement good industrial relations practices based on BUSA’s insight as to what is practical for small businesses.


During 2017 a need was identified by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (“CCMA”) and Business Unity South Africa (“BUSA”) for assistance to small and medium size enterprises (“SME”) to operate their businesses within the employment legislation framework in South Africa, as they often are too small to employee resources knowledgeable in the field to provide the appropriate interpretation and guidance of labour legislation they must comply with.

The project was approved at NEDLAC and forms part of the Presidential Jobs Summit Framework of October 2018.

After a successful launch by the President in January 2019 the Web Tool became a valuable source of information to Small and Medium Enterprises (‘SMEs”) in particular, providing easily consumable information and handy templates for download, covering the life cycle of the employment of an employee.

The International Labour Organization (“ILO”) approved funding in 2021 for a second development stage, which includes the following:

  • The development of a free mobile App that enables Apple and Android users to access the Web Tool information on their smartphones.
  • Further updates to existing content in line with legislative changes and other developments in employment law.
  • The addition of COVID-19 information, courtesy of the National Institute of Occupational Health (“NIOH”).
  • The addition of further information from Productivity SA about their interventions designed to enhance the competitiveness, productivity and sustainability of SMEs.
  • The inclusion of information on the services offered by the Department of Small Business Development and how SMEs may access such services

The objectives of the CCMA BUSA Labour Advice Web Tool for Small Business are to:

  • Facilitate and support NDP objectives of decent work, growth and employment creation.
  • Capacitate small businesses to manage workplace conflict effectively and contribute towards building stable, high performing and productive workplaces.
  • Build knowledge and skills and promote fair labour practices and contribute towards workplace transformation.
  • Stimulate confidence in labour laws and to foster a culture of self-help and self-sufficiency within small businesses.
  • Improve employer and employee understanding and compliance with labour laws, reduce red-tape and the associated costs and contribute to workplace stability and certainty in smaller business workplaces.

CCMA & BUSA Labour Advice App

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Glossary of useful terms

BC: Bargaining Council
BCEA: Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997
BUSA: Business Unity South Africa
CCMA: Commission for Conciliation Mediation & Arbitration
EEA: Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998
ILO: International Labour Organisation
LRA: Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995
MHSA: Mine Health & Safety Act 29 of 1996
NEDLAC: National Economic Development and Labour Council
NMW: National minimum wage
NMWA: National Minimum Wage Act 9 of 2018
OHSA: Occupational Health & Safety Act 85 of 1993
UICA: Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act 4 of 2002
UIF: Unemployment Insurance Fund

Bargaining Council: A bargaining council is a body that is established by one or more employers’ organisations and one or more trade unions. It must be registered under the LRA for a particular industry.  Bargaining Councils make and enforce collective agreements, prevent and resolve labour disputes and establish and manage schemes and funds for employees.

Collective agreements: Are written agreements between trade unions and employers or employers’ organisations, concerning terms and conditions of employment or any other matter of mutual interest.

Common Law: Is a body of law, a set of principles, that has been developed by South African Courts over decades, initially drawing on Roman-Dutch and English law.

Con-Arb Hearing: This is a process at the CCMA/BC where a dispute is set down for conciliation and arbitration on the same day.  If a matter remains unresolved after conciliation, the arbitration hearing will start immediately, usually by the same commissioner and as part of the same process.

Dismissal: Where an employer terminates employment summarily, without notice or terminates employment by giving an employee notice.

Lock out: Means the exclusion by an employer of employees from the employer’s workplace, for the purpose of compelling the employees to accept a demand in respect of any matter of mutual interest between employer and employee, whether or not the employer breaches those employees’ contracts of employment in the course of or for the purpose of that exclusion.

Operational requirements: means requirements based on economic, technological, structural or similar needs of an employer. These factors affect the ability of a business to continue operating at a profit.