This article was written by Lara Kerbelker, an associate at Norton Rose Fulbright South Africa

The amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) are in operation from Monday, 1 September 2014.

Changes to the BCEA include:

  • Employers are prohibited from requiring or accepting any payment from an employee or job applicant for their employment or in return for being offered work.
  • Employers cannot oblige employees to purchase goods from them, or from a business or person nominated by them unless employees receive a financial benefit, or the goods are provided at a fair and reasonable price.
  • The Minister may issue an umbrella sectoral determination for employers and employees who are not covered by any specific sectoral determination.
  • A sectoral determination may prescribe minimum increases, prohibit sub-contracting, and set membership numbers that give trade unions rights of access to an employer’s premises, and for the deduction of trade union subscriptions.
  • Labour inspectors no longer have to secure a written undertaking from an employer to comply with the BCEA before issuing a compliance order. Requiring a written undertaking first is now discretionary.
  • Compliance orders may specify a date by which an employer may make representations to the Director-General. If there is non-compliance, the Department may apply to have the compliance order made an order of the Labour Court.
  • Sections 71 and 72 of the BCEA, in terms of which an employer could make objections to the Director-General regarding a compliance order, have been repealed. Any objections by employers will now be dealt with by the Labour Court.
  • The jurisdiction of the CCMA and the Labour Court to adjudicate BCEA claims that arise during the course of an unfair dismissal hearing has been extended to cover all claims that have not yet prescribed. Once this issue has been determined by the Court or an arbitrator, no other legal proceedings may be brought in respect of that claim.
  • The prohibition on child labour is extended to cover all work done by children, not only the employment of children. The maximum term of imprisonment for offences involving child labour or forced labour has been increased from three to six years.
  • The maximum penalties for breaching the BCEA, not involving an underpayment, have been increased by 200%.

Please speak to your Norton Rose Fulbright contact if you want any further information or assistance.

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