Know your workplace rights

Each industry has specific nuances and each employer has a corporate culture, they both contribute to and affect your rights, or the rights you think you should or should not have.

The idea behind this article is simply to showcase the South African Legislation under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, but also to explain why sometimes these decisions have been made. 

Who is an Employee?

Before you find out how much of the Act is applicable to you, you must first understand if you qualify as an employee. This is of course fundamental to Energy at Work as a recruitment service. We want to find you the best next step The right career in the right company = the perfect fit.

You are an employee if you meet the following criteria:

  1. If you have worked for at least 40 hours per month for the last three months for the same business
  2. If you receive remuneration from the employer
  3. If you provide a skill/labour to the employer
  4. If you have an employment contract that details the employees’ rights & duties in writing. Signed by both parties. 

You, as an employee, have employment rights and obligations:

To start, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act dictates employee rights including minimum annual leave (21 days annual leave), family responsibility leave (3 days per year), & maternity leave (4 months paid or unpaid leave contact dependent). The Act also makes provision for working hours, overtime allowance and contracts.

According to the Act, the minimum employee requirements are as follows:

  1. Work towards a healthy & productive employment relationship with their employer
  2. Co-operate with the employers’ instructions, rules, systems & procedures. (Within the law of course)
  3. Be respectful, honest & obedient
  4. Respect business & employer confidential information;
  5. Refrain from criminal activities or other forms of misconduct laid out in the employee contract. These include, but are not limited to:
    • Dishonesty
    • Being drunk or arriving with a hangover
    • Gross negligence
    • Physical assault on other employees
    • Divulging company secrets or confidential information
    • Persistent laziness
    • Damage to the employer's property
  6. Agree to perform the services for which you are hired
  7. Guarantee that you are capable of performing the tasks agreed to and to carry them out efficiently without negligence
  8. Not entertaining personal interests that could compete with your employers’ business interests. I.e. working for a competitor company in freelance hours
  9. Do not tamper with or remove objects from the employer's premises
  10. Report unhealthy or unsafe working conditions
  11. Hand in the required notice of termination of the employment agreement. 

A much-debated condition is Overtime

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act section that regulates working hours does not apply to Senior Management, Sales staff who travel and regulate their own working hours, workers who work less than 24 hours in a month and workers who earn in excess of an amount stated in terms of section 6 (3) of the Act – but we won’t cover this here.

By law, employees may not work more than 10 hours’ overtime per week unless it is agreed upon. This agreement is called a collective agreement but even then there is provision. A collective agreement may increase the overtime allowance to 15 hours per week but only for two months a year.

The reason for limiting working hours and overtime is maintain a high level of competence within the working environment. A tired employee Can not  function at 100% ,  this increases stress and can have negative effects on both the employer and employee. 

Additional Rights

This is particularly important for both employees and employers. There is nothing more frustrating than creating conflict due to a misunderstanding or misrepresentation of the law. It is better to know, understand and address specific issues based on knowledge of the Act.

Every staff member is entitled to:

  1. An hour’s break for every 5 hours worked.
  2. 6 weeks sick leave over a 36 month period
  3. Receive a pay slip
  4. Be protected from sexual harassment
  5. 15 Working days paid leave (1 day for every 17 days worked)

We at Energy at Work are proactive in ensuring our candidates are of the highest caliber and that they grow their careers when working with us. This means building on the knowledge base of rights, stimulating clients’ business by matching individuals to corporate culture and ensuring the correct legal requirements are met for various regulations to secure ongoing employment. 

If you wish to work with a company like Energy At Work to find you your dream career, call us today on 011 793 6780 or stay in touch with us