After over two years before Parliament the Labour Relations Amendment Bill was finally adopted by the National Assembly yesterday after having been passed by 248 votes to 81.

The Bill looks somewhat different from the initial Labour Relations Amendment Bill, 2010. Employers should take note of the following most notable modifications:

  • Labour broking has not been banned but is  highly limited; labour brokers may only place their employees at their clients for a period not exceeding three months. If the three month period is exceeded then the employee will be regarded as employed by the client.
  • Employees earning below the statutory threshold, which is currently R193 805, may not be employed on a fixed term basis for a period longer than three months unless the employer can demonstrate to the CCMA that there is a justifiable reason for this.
  • The status quo remains that trade unions do not have to conduct a ballot of their members before going on strike.

It is now more important than ever for employers to limit reliance on fixed term contracts and labour broking employees. Should employers need to use fixed term or temporary employees for a period exceeding three months they need to ensure that they have defensible operational reasons for doing so.

A summary of the other amendments to the Labour Relations Act, 1995 (ie other than the 3 described above) can be found at http://www.nortonrosefulbright.com/news/65149/labour-relations-amendment-bill-2012#.UhRlVhuSJco.email.

By Amelia Berman, Associate

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