Category Archives: Labour Law

Is Uber legal?

Following the death of one of Uber’s employees due to clashes between Uber drivers and taxi drivers, the Department of Labour has clarified its position in terms of labour legislation.

Recently, the Department of Labour acknowledged and applauded the ruling by the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) that Uber drivers are the employees of the company. This decision was in line with the Labour Relations (Act 66 of 1995) as amended. “With regard to the Uber drivers, like any employees, there are no exceptions. They are fully protected by the South African Labour Laws including the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 130 of 1993 (COIDA)”, Commissioner Vuyo Mafata said.

Under the Labour Relations Act, any person who falls in that category is an employee and therefore fully covered in terms of labour legislation.

What happens if an Uber driver is injured?

The COID Act compensates employees who are injured or die during the cause of duty. Therefore, it means the beneficiaries of the Uber driver who died after he was allegedly attacked in Pretoria last month qualify for compensation according to the Act. However, the Fund will have to be provided with all the required documents in order to process the claim.

What about the employer, Uber?

For Uber drivers, all of this is good news. Employees will not be penalised or forfeit their benefits because of unregistered employers, instead the employers will be fined. Furthermore, employers must register their companies with the Compensation Fund so that employees are covered under the COID Act.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE).

Reference:

“Department of Labour’s position in terms of Uber drivers and CCMA ruling”, Lloyd Ramutloa – the Department of Labour.

WHAT CONSTITUTES A FAIR DISMISSAL?

A1_BLabour law emphasises that every employee has the right not to be dismissed unfairly. This law defines the meaning of dismissal and when it may lawfully occur. Substantive and procedural fairness determines whether the dismissal was fair.

What is a dismissal?

Dismissal means the following: The termination of a contract of employment with or without notice, and also if the employer fails to provide a fixed-term contract, or he/she does renew the contract, but on less favourable terms than the employee had reasonably expected.

When is dismissal fair?

Section 188 of the Labour Relations Act provides that dismissal is fair if the employer can prove that the dismissal is related to the employee's conduct or capacity, or if it can be proven that the dismissal is based on the employer's operational requirements. Dismissal is usually fair if a fair procedure was followed. Good practices are set out in legislation which outlines the discharge processes and must be taken into account.

Labour legislation provides for three different types of discharge, namely dismissal due to misconduct, poor performance or operational requirements. Certain procedures must be followed for each type of discharge. Employers sometimes confuse misconduct with poor performance. It is very important that the correct procedure is followed, but it is also necessary that the cause of the unsatisfactory behaviour is determined.

What is misconduct?

Misconduct is when the employee has violated certain rules such as rules against dishonesty or theft, or has refused to obey reasonable and lawful instructions. In these situations, the employee has decided not to honour the code of conduct. The employee has knowingly violated a rule and therefore the person should be disciplined. This may result in written warnings and/or possible dismissal.

What is poor performance?

In contrast, poor performance involves situations where the employee is not in deliberate violation of any regulations but it may involve circumstances over which the employee may not necessarily have control. In this case, other factors could be the cause of poor performance, such as lack of resources, inexperience, inadequate training or poor health. It is clear that the employee is not directly responsible for the behaviour and therefore, disciplinary actions cannot be taken. The employee cannot be blamed for something like illness, therefore a counselling process is followed in lieu of a disciplinary hearing in order to find solutions for the poor performance.

Operational requirements

The last type of dismissal is due to operational requirements. This type of discharge has to do with economic conditions, including a shortage of work or a lack of money. These are cases where the employer can no longer afford to retain a certain number of employees or new computers or sophisticated equipment have been acquired which renders a number of employees redundant. These are factors beyond the control of the employee and involves steps that the employer takes to protect his/her business from being ruined financially.

Conclusion

It is very important that the process contained in section 189 of the Labour Relations Act be followed. This process requires the employer to engage with the employee in a meaningful way in order to negotiate and disclose certain information before dismissal can take place.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

DIFFERENCES BETWEEN LIQUIDATION AND SEQUESTRATION PROCESS

A1BThe application for liquidation and sequestration processes are often confused. Many people think that the processes are the same. However, there is a big difference between these two processes.

A simple way to describe liquidation is that liquidation is the winding up of a firm by selling off its free (un-pledged) assets to convert them into cash to pay the firm’s unsecured creditors. Before a liquidation application can be issued in court, a founding affidavit needs to be drafted. This affidavit will include all the details of the Applicant and / or Respondent. The Applicant is the person who wants to liquidate the company and the Respondent is the company. In the case where the Applicant is the company, there will be no Respondent. The affidavit will also include any details of the company, employees and creditors. A bond of security also needs to be signed for the purpose of the Master of the High Court.

Once the application is issued, the only people who receive this notice is the South African Revenue Services (SARS), the Master of the High Court, employees of the company and any trade unions. As soon as this is done, a Master’s certificate is obtained verifying the application, and a provisional liquidation order is granted.  A return date is then set, and all creditors are notified of the provisional liquidation through registered post and by placing the provisional order in two local newspapers. Should the Applicant’s attorneys receive no notice of intention to defend the matter, a final liquidation order is granted. The order together with the application is sent to the Master of the High Court and a liquidator will be appointed.

Sequestration is the preferred option for the individual who has exhausted all other options of resolution, and is now in a position where even if all their assets are sold, they would be left with such a high shortfall that it would be unreasonable to expect them to recover from this loss. A sequestration involves a little more administration work before a court date can be obtained. Before the Notice of Motion and Founding Affidavit are drafted, a valuer needs to be appointed in order to value the Applicant or Respondent’s estate. This needs to be done in order to ascertain whether the debtor is indeed over-indebted, and whether he / she has enough assets to provide a benefit for all creditors involved.

 In the matter of a voluntary sequestration, the Applicant will be the party whose estate is to be sequestrated. The valuer needs to value the property of the Applicant on a forced sale scale. This will be calculated by subtracting 20% of the actual value of the property.

As soon as the valuer has made an estimate for the Applicant / Respondent’s estate, a Statement of Debtor’s Affairs needs to be handed in to the Master of the High Court for inspection by all creditors. This needs to be done no less than 14 or more than 30 days before the court date. A Notice of Surrender needs to be sent through registered post to all creditors to inform them that the Statement of Debtor’s Affairs is available for inspection.

The Notice of Surrender needs to be posted in two local newspapers and the Government Gazette no less than 14, or more than 30 days before the court date. Once all of the above-mentioned requirement has been adhered to, the notice of surrender can be annexed to the Founding Affidavit and can be heard by the court, no Bond of Security is needed at this point. A sequestration can only be heard by the High Court, whereas a liquidation can be heard either by a Magistrate’s Court or by the High Court, depending on the merits of the case.

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

BASIESE REGISTRASIES EN NAKOMING VIR BESIGHEDE

A1_BVir enige besigheid wat in Suid-Afrika sake doen, is dit ‘n uitdaging om op die hoogte te bly van alle vereiste registrasies en nakoming wat deur wetgewing en ander regulering voorgeskryf word. Hier volg ‘n opsomming van die mees algemene registrasies en nakoming wat op die meeste besighede van toepassing is.

  1. Jaarlikse opgawes en jaargelde (Maatskappye): Enige maatskappy wat by die CIPC geregistreer wil bly, moet jaarliks gedurende die maatskappy se verjaardagmaand ‘n opgawe van inligting by die CIPC indien en ook die gepaardgaande jaargeld betaal. (www.cipc.co.za)
  1. Inkomstebelasting: Enige onderneming wat handel dryf moet by die Suid-Afrikaanse Inkomstediens (SAID) as ‘n belastingbetaler registreer, hetsy as individu/eenmansaak, maatskappy, trust, of enige ander persoon. Jaarliks moet hierdie onderneming ‘n inkomstebelastingopgawe (IB12 of IB14) voltooi en indien. Verder moet daar elke ses maande voorlopige belasting bereken en ‘n opgawe (IRP6) ingedien word, en indien nodig, moet enige verskuldigde bedrag ook betaal word. Nie-nakoming kan aansienlike boetes tot gevolg hê. (www.sars.gov.za)
  1. Belasting op Toegevoegde Waarde (BTW): Indien die jaarlikse omset van die onderneming R1 miljoen sal oorskry, moet die onderneming vir BTW registreer. ‘n Vrywillige registrasie kan gedoen word indien die omset meer as R50 000 per jaar sal wees. BTW-opgawes moet gewoonlik elke twee maande ingedien word en, indien nodig, moet enige verskuldigde bedrag ook betaal word. (www.sars.gov.za)
  1. Werkloosheidsversekering: Indien ‘n onderneming werknemers in diens het, moet die onderneming as werkgewer vir werkloosheidsversekering registreer. Maandelikse opgawes vir betaling moet ingedien word. ‘n Bedrag gelykstaande aan een persent van die salarisse van werknemers is deur die werkgewer betaalbaar, en ‘n verdere een persent deur die werknemer. (www.labour.gov.za)
  1. Werknemersbelasting: Indien enige van die werknemers van ‘n onderneming se vergoeding die perk in die Belastingwet oorskry, moet die onderneming as werkgewer vir LBS (lopende betaalstelsel) registreer. Die belasting moet maandeliks van sodanige werknemers se vergoeding afgetrek word en aan die SAID oorbetaal word tesame met die indiening van die nodige opgawes. Daar moet ook twee keer per jaar ‘n LBS-rekonsiliasie (IRP501) opgestel en by die SAID ingedien word. Jaarliks moet daar saam met die LBS-rekonsiliasie ook IRP5-sertifikate vir alle werknemers uitgemaak word. (www.sars.gov.za)
  1. Vaardigheidsontwikkelingsheffing: Indien die totale jaarlikse salarisrekening van die onderneming R500 000 oorskry, of indien die onderneming meer as 50 werknemers het, moet die onderneming ook vir die vaardigheidsontwikkelingsheffing (SDL) registreer, en moet daar ook maandeliks opgawes ingedien en die nodige heffing betaal word. (www.labour.gov.za / www.sars.gov.za)
  1. Vergoedingskommissaris: Enige onderneming wat werknemers in diens het, ongeag die vergoeding wat vir sodanige werknemers betaal word, moet as werkgewer vir ongevalleversekering by die Departement van Arbeid registreer. Die onderneming moet jaarliks ‘n opgawe by die departement indien en word dan aangeslaan teen ‘n persentasie van die totale salarisrekening van die onderneming. Werknemers wat aan diens beseer word, kan dan vergoeding van hierdie fonds eis. (www.labour.gov.za)
  1. Gelyke Indiensneming: ‘n Onderneming wat meer as 50 werknemers in diens het, of wat die gestelde drempel van jaarlikse omset vir die spesifieke sektor waarin dit handel dryf, oorskry, moet elke twee jaar ‘n gelyke indiensnemingsplan opstel en by die Departement van Arbeid indien. (www.labour.gov.za)

Hierdie is ‘n algemene inligtingstuk en moet gevolglik nie as regs- of ander professionele advies benut word nie. Geen aanspreeklikheid kan aanvaar word vir enige foute of weglatings of enige skade of verlies wat volg uit die gebruik van enige inligting hierin vervat nie. Kontak altyd u regsadviseur vir spesifieke en toegepaste advies.