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Amendments to Labour Legislation - Temporary Employees

By Jan Du Toit

As most employers are aware by now, the Department of Labour published proposed amendments to labour legislation and the introduction of the Public Employment Service Bill in December 2010. This undoubtedly resulted in some sleepless nights over the festive season for both Temporary Employment Services providers (also referred to as Labour Brokers) and their clients. The proposed amendments, if enacted, would effectively "ban" Labour Brokers and will have far reaching implications for employers whether they make use of temporary employees provided by a Labour Broker or not.

We recently published a press release by the Department of Labour highlighting some of the key areas of the proposed amendment bills. This document is however not comprehensive and we will therefore during the next couple of weeks discuss some interesting proposed amendments that must be carefully considered and commented on before the 17th of February.

The first proposed amendment to consider is the definition of an employer in the Labour Relations Act. An employer will be defined in section 213 of the Act as "any person, institution, organisation, or organ of state who employs or provides work to an employee or any other person and directly supervises, remunerates or tacitly or expressly undertakes to remunerate or reward such employee for services rendered". An employee will be defined as "any person employed by or working for an employer, who receives or is entitled to receive any remuneration, reward or benefit and works under the direction or supervision of an employer;"

From these definitions it is clear that any person or institution that provides work to another person and directly supervises such a person is considered to be the employer. The client of a Labour Broker would therefore be considered to be the employer and not the Labour Broker or a third party. Section 198 of the Labour Relations Act will be repealed meaning that Temporary Employment Service providers are not longer recognized in the Act. Clients of a Labour Broker would therefore not be able to rely on section 198 (2) of the Act stating that "a person whose services have been procured for or provided to a client by a temporary employment service is the employee of that temporary employment service, and the temporary employment service is that person's employer".

In addition to the above it is proposed that a new section be inserted in the Act stating that "an employee must be employed permanently, unless the employer can establish a justification for employment on a fixed term." Employing staff temporarily instead of using a Labour Broker will therefore also not be an option.

Those employers that will be able to justify the use of temporary staff as per section 200B of the proposed amendments will have to be extremely careful since section 186 (1) (b) will also be amended. It would be considered to be a dismissal if the employer failed to permanently appoint an employee engaged under a fixed term contract and such employee can prove that reasonable expectation of a permanent appointment was created.

Section 186 of the principal Act is amended by—

(a) the substitution in subsection (1) for paragraph (b) of the following paragraph:

(b) an employee engaged under a fixed term contract of employment reasonably expected the employer—

(i) to renew a fixed term contract of employment on the same or similar terms but the employer offered to renew it on less favourable terms, or did not renew it; or

(ii) to offer the employee an indefinite contract of employment on the same or similar terms but the employer offered it on less favourable terms, or did not offer it, where there was reasonable expectation;"

Another costly mistake would be to offer an employee engaged under a fixed term contract permanent employment on less favourable terms as what the employee was entitled to as a fixed term employee. Employers are advised to study the proposed amendments and to consider the impact it would have on their businesses if enacted.

For more information contact Jan du Toit

 

The Protection of Personal Information


By Jan du Toit, Senior Consultant, SA Labour Guide

 

After more than seven years in the making, President Ramaphosa announced last year an effective date of 1 July 2020 for the Protection of Personal Information Act (POPI), Act 4 of 2013. “Responsible Parties” only have approximately 5 months left until 30 June 2021 to become compliant in full.

 

The duration of a typical POPI compliance project will differ from one business to another depending on the nature and size of the business, as well as the Personal Information processed by a Responsible Party. Business owners are therefore advised to, without delay, embark on a compliance project to meet the deadline.

 

Even though the Protection of Personal Information Act is welcomed by most, it has been long overdue and will require business owners (“Responsible Parties” in terms of the Act) to process Personal Information according to 8 processing conditions as set out in the Act.

 

The purpose of the Protection of Personal Information Act is in essence found in the title of the Act; to protect the Personal Information of “Data Subjects”. It gives effect to ones right to privacy as enshrined in the Constitution but also provides balance in terms of the right to privacy weighed up against the right to access to information.

 

The Act regulates the manner in which Personal Information must be processed and provides protection and recourse to those whose rights are infringed. Further to this, the Act makes provision for the establishment of an Information Regulator. Advocate, Pansy Tlakula has already been appointed as the Information Regulator a couple of years ago and has done a great deal of work in establishing her office.

 

Before I get into more detail about the eight processing conditions, it is important to note that the Act is “definitions driven”. It is therefore of utmost importance to first highlight some of the definitions found in the Act for readers to better understand the eight processing conditions.

 

The first definition is that of “Personal Information”. Personal Information is widely defined in the Act and includes, but is not limited to, information relating to an identifiable living natural person or a juristic person (“Data Subjects”), such as:

  • Race, gender, sex, pregnancy, marital status, nationality, ethnic or social origin, colour, sexual orientation, age, physical or mental health, well-being, disability, religion, conscience, believe, culture, language, birth

  • History - education, medical, financial, criminal, employment

  • Identifiers – number, symbols, e-mail address, physical address, telephone numbers, location, online ID or other assignment to a person such as a unique identifier (in example a student or patient number)

  • Biometric information – physical or psychological behavioural characterization, blood type, fingerprints, DNA analysis, retinal scanning, voice recognition

  • Personal opinion views or preferences

  • Correspondence implicitly or explicitly of a private and confidential nature

  • Views or opinions of another individual\

  • The name of the person with other information or the name alone

 

The second definition of importance is that of “processing”. The processing of Personal Information includes but is not limited to any operation/activity or any set of operations, whether automated or not, concerning Personal Information. It includes:

  • Collection / receipt / recording / organizing / collation / storage / updating / modification / retrieval / alteration of Personal Information

  • Dissemination by means of transmission distribution or making available to others.

  • Merging / linking / restricting / degradation / erasure / destruction of Personal Information.

 

A Responsible Party can either be a public body, private body or any other person or persons, domiciled in South Africa and that determines the purpose and means for processing of Personal Information.

 

Throughout the entire lifecycle of Personal Information in any business, eight processing conditions must be adhered to. The eight processing conditions are summarized below:

 

Condition 1 – Accountability. The Responsible Party must always ensure that the conditions set out in Chapter 3 of the Act and all the associated measures are complied with.

 

Condition 2 – Personal Information must be collected and processed lawfully in a reasonable manner that does not infringe the privacy of a Data Subject. The Personal Information may only be processed if it is adequate, relevant, and not excessive.
Personal Information may only be processed if the Data Subject consented thereto. Alternatively, where it is necessary to do so for the conclusion or performance of a contract, an obligation in terms of law, to protect the legitimate interest of the Data Subject, or to pursue a legitimate interest of the Responsible Party.

 

A further requirement is that the Personal Information must be collected directly from the Data Subject.

 

Condition 3 requires that Personal Information must be collected for a specific explicitly defined and lawful purpose related to a function or activity of the Responsible Party. Such Personal Information may not be retained any longer than necessary for achieving the purposes for which the information was collected and/or subsequently processed.

 

Condition 4 prohibits the further processing of Personal Information unless such processing is compatible with the initial purpose of collecting the information.

 

Condition 5 requires that Responsible Parties must take reasonable, practicable steps to ensure that Personal Information is complete, accurate, and not misleading. Such Personal Information must also be kept up to date, taking into consideration the purpose of the Personal Information.

 

The nature and purpose of the Personal Information will dictate as to how often such Personal Information must be updated.

 

Condition 6 addresses some of the rights of Data Subjects, such as the right to be informed by the Responsible Party before information is collected. The purpose of collecting and from where Personal Information will be collected must be disclosed to the Data Subject.

 

A Data Subject is entitled to the details of the Responsible Party and to be made aware of the consequences of not making Personal Information available to the Responsible Party.

 

Should it be required that Personal Information be collected and processed in terms of legislation, the Data Subject must be made aware accordingly.

 

As per Section 72 of the Act, the Data Subject must be advised if Personal Information will be transferred across the borders of South Africa. Under such circumstances the Data Subject is entitled to first be made aware of legislation in other countries that provides adequate protection of the Personal Information. In the absence of legislation, whether there are any binding corporate rules in place, alternatively a written agreement that offers adequate protection for the Data Subject, concluded between the Responsible Party and he third party.

 

Condition 7 requires that Responsible Parties must secure the integrity and confidentiality of Personal Information by taking appropriate reasonable, technical and organisational measures, to prevent loss or unlawful access of Personal Information under the control of a Responsible Party.

 

In this regard the Responsible Party is required to identify all reasonable and foreseeable internal and external risks, and to establish and maintain appropriate safeguards. Compliance with such safeguards must be regularly audited and measures updated if so required.

 

Condition 8 deals with the rights of Data Subjects and participation. In terms of condition 8, Data Subjects have the right to establish whether Personal Information is held by a Responsible Party and to have it corrected or destroyed if it is inaccurate, irrelevant, excessive, out of date, incomplete, misleading, or have been obtained unlawfully.

 

Responsible Parties are also further required to introduce Data Subject rights and participation in their PAIA (Promotion of Access to Information Act) manuals.

 

Responsible Parties are also not permitted to send direct marketing material to Data Subjects without their written consent as per from 4 four of the regulations of the Act.

 

Other important considerations in terms of the Act are that a Responsible Party may be issued with an administrative fine of up to R10 million for its non-compliance with the Act. Additionally, Data Subjects have the right to sue Responsible Parties and under specific circumstances, the Information Officer of the Responsible Party may be imprisoned.

 

Each Responsible Party must register an Information Officer (the head of the organization or a person acting in such capacity) with the Information Regulator. The Information Officer may appoint deputies to assist with ensuring compliance within the business.

 

From the above, it is evident that a POPIA compliance project is not something that should be undertaken without a solid understanding of the Act.

 

Our subscribers, a.k.a. “Responsible Parties”, are invited to attend our online POPIA presentations to better understand the Act and to ensure compliance. In-house training can also be arranged on request.

 

The author of this article is also available to assist employers with compliance projects in the form of awareness sessions, gap analysis, policy development / implementation and staff awareness.

 

For further information pertaining to training, readers are invited to visit www.labourguide.co.za or to contact Jan du Toit at .

 

 

 

 

 

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13 May 2021 (09:00 - 16:00)

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28 May 2021 (09:00 - 12:00) (Fully Booked)

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04 June 2021 (09:00 - 12:00)

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The OHS Act and the Responsibilities of Management

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26, 27 & 28 May 2021 (08:30 - 16:00)

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