Proposed amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) are likely to lead some major changes for both employers and employees.
Phil Meyer, technology director at payroll software specialist Pastel Payroll, part of the Softline Group and Sage Group, says the draft BCEA Amendment Bill was submitted to Parliament earlier this year and some significant amendments that will impact on employers and employees are under discussion.
“The Section 33A Prohibited conduct proposal aims to prevent employers from requiring or accepting any payment from an employee regarding their employment. Employers are also prohibited from requiring employees to purchase goods from the company or any other party nominated by it unless the employee receives a financial benefit from the transaction,” says Meyer.
A typical example is where the company requires employees to wear a uniform while executing their duties. A proposed amendment is that employers may no longer expect employees to pay for these uniforms out of their own pockets unless the employer provides the employee with an additional allowance to pay for uniforms.
“Offences committed under this section will be subject to a maximum term of three years in prison.”
Within Section 55 Sectorial Determinations a proposed amendment is that the Minister of Labour should be vested with the power to make certain amendments to sectorial determinations, namely the basic conditions for specific industries or even any industry not covered by any sectorial determination.
“One of the proposals includes the power to prescribe minimum wage rates or minimum increases. Should this proposal be accepted, the Minister of Labour will have the power to prescribe minimum wage or salary increases for any or all industries in South Africa,” adds Meyer.
Attention was also paid to the Section 93 Offences and Penalties within the Act. Employers who are found guilty of an offence under the sections of the act prohibiting use of child labour may be sentenced to a maximum of six years in prison.
“A proposed amendment to Schedule 2 of the Act deals with an increase in the maximum penalties for a breach of BCEA regulations. The minimum fine is to be set at R300 per offence per employee and may extend up to a maximum of R1 500 per offence per employee. Once the amendments are promulgated companies might require updates for their payroll and HR software systems,” concludes Meyer.