GUIDELINE FOR PERMANENT CONTRACT OF EMPLOYMENT
This contract should be used for employees who are employed on an ongoing or indefinite basis, either full-time, part-time or variable time.
- Employers are required to grant a lunch break of one hour after five continuous hours of work.
- This can be reduced to 30 minutes with the agreement of the employee. The lunch break is excluded from the calculation of daily or weekly working hours.
Working hours – full-time, part-time or variable time
- An employer must regulate the working hours of employees provided that: –
- Maximum ordinary working hours per week is 45 hours, and 9 hours per day if the employee works 5 days a week.
- Legislation provides for procedures to reduce this to 40 hours.
- The contract can be for a full-time, part-time or variable time as per the operational requirements of the job. The relevant provisions in this section should be completed and the other provisions deleted.
- Employers are required by the law to make deductions from employee salaries and wages and these statutory deductions are: –
- Employee Tax
- Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)
Deduction other than statutory deductions
- Deductions other than statutory deductions may be made with the agreement of the employee.
- This would include union subscriptions, if the employee has signed a stop-order form authorising this and the union has organisational rights to stop-orders.
- Deductions in respect of money owed by the employee to the employer may not exceed 25 % of the employee’s monthly remuneration.
- Overtime is only payable to employees earning less than the threshold amount set by the Minister of Labour from time to time.
- The threshold rate, as at 01 March 2021, is R211 596.30 per annum.
- Overtime is limited to 10 (ten) hours per week and is paid at 1.5 times the normal hourly rate for work from Monday to Saturday.
- Overtime on Sundays and public holidays is more complicated to calculate, but is essentially paid at double the normal hourly rate unless Sunday is an ordinary day of work in which event it is paid at 1.5 times the normal hourly rate. Some sectors, however, such as retail are covered by sectoral determinations that provide for different Sunday rates when certain conditions are met.
- Refer to sections 16 and 18 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 (BCEA).
- Probation is normally between 3 (three) and 6 (six) months, but may be less or more if circumstances require e.g. nature of position and/or level of responsibility.
- Prior to termination within a probationary period, the employee must be given an opportunity to make representations, with the assistance of a fellow employee (including a shop steward, if any).If the employee proves to be unsuitable during a probationary period, his/her employment may be terminated with a minimum of legal formalities, and for reasons that may be less compelling than would be required outside of a probationary period.
- It is important however than an employer gives the employee reasonable and appropriate training, guidance, instruction, counselling and evaluation during the probationary period – a “sink or swim” approach should not be adopted.
- Training in company-specific systems, work methods, policies and procedures will be particularly important as the employee cannot be expected to be aware of these.
- The probationary period may be extended, if necessary, after consultation with the employee.
- There is no mandatory retirement age in terms of the Labour Relations Act.
- It is important to specify a retirement age in the contract to avoid possible future claims of discrimination on the grounds of age.
- If an employer wants to continue employing the employee past retirement age, this can be done by way of fixed-term contracts specifically provided for in the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA).
Written disciplinary code and grievance procedure
- If an employer has a written disciplinary code and grievance procedure, and that this should be attached to the contract of employment as an annexure.
- It is advisable to request the employee to sign an acknowledgement of receipt of the document.
- If the code and procedure is attached to the contract as an annexure, clause 14.3 can be amended to read as follows: “A copy of the Disciplinary Code and Grievance Procedure is attached hereto as Annexure B “