CODE OF GOOD PRACTICE ON EMPLOYMENT OF PERSONS WITH DISABILITIES

On 9 November 2015 the Minister of Labour published the new Code of Good Practice on Employment of Persons with Disabilities (“the Code“). The Code aims to guide employers and employees on promoting equal opportunities and fair treatment for persons with disabilities; help employers and employees understand their rights and obligations in order to promote certainty and reduce disputes to ensure that persons with disabilities can enjoy and exercise their rights at work; help create awareness of the contributions persons with disabilities can make and encourage employers to fully use the skills of such persons; and ensure that all employers identify, respect and promote the rights of any person with a disability.

The Code should be read in conjunction with the Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 (“EEA“).

The Code details, among others:

  1. The definition of persons with disabilities;
  2. Reasonable accommodation for disabled persons;
  3. Medical and psychological testing;
  4. Placement;
  5. Worker’s compensation;
  6. Confidentiality and disclosure of disability; and
  7. Monitoring and evaluation.

Employers should use the Code to draw up and implement disability equity policies and programmes to suit the needs of their businesses.

DRAFT PROTECTED DISCLOSURES AMENDMENT BILL

On 4 December 2015 the Minister of Justice and Correctional Services published an explanatory summary of the Protected Disclosures Amendment Bill, 2015 (“the Bill”). The Bill aims to amend the Protected Disclosures Act 26 of 2000 (“PDA”). The PDA provides for the procedure that must be followed for disclosing unlawful behaviour in the workplace by private and public sector employees and sets out how such disclosure is to be protected. The Bill will soon be tabled in parliament.

The Bill aims to:

  1. Extend the scope of employees who are able to claim protection under the PDA to include contract workers and those employees provided by a temporary employment service providers (“TES / labour brokers”);
  2. Introduce a civil claim for any alleged breach of a confidentiality agreement;
  3. Impose a duty to investigate a protected disclosure on a person or body to whom a protected disclosure is made;
  4. Require a recipient of a protected disclosure to respond in writing to the employee concerned setting out how the investigation is proceeding and provide timelines within which the investigation will be completed;
  5. Empower employees to approach the court for relief if they face detrimental behaviour from employers;
  6. Immunise employees from civil and criminal liability flowing from a disclosure that reveals criminal activity; and
  7. Make the disclosure of false information an offence.

EXTENSION OF SECURITY OF TENURE AMENDMENT BILL

The Extension of Security of Tenure Amendment Bill (“Amendment Bill“) has recently been published for comment. It seeks to amend the Extension of Security of Tenure Act 62 of 1997 (“ESTA“) by:

  1. Amending and inserting certain definitions;
  2. Substituting the provision of subsidies with tenure grants;
  3. Further regulating the rights of occupiers;
  4. Further regulating the eviction of occupiers by enforcing alternative resolution mechanisms provided for in ESTA;
  5. Providing for the establishment and operation of a Land Rights Management Board; and
  6. Providing for the establishment and operation of Land Rights Management Committees to identify, monitor and settle land rights disputes.

The Amendment Bill will first be considered by the National house of Traditional Leaders. Thereafter it will proceed to the Portfolio Committee on Rural Development and Land Reform before being tabled at the National Council of Provinces and National Assembly.

LABOUR LAWS AMENDMENT BILL

The Labour Laws Amendment Bill (“LLAB“) seeks to amend the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 55 of 1998 and Unemployment Insurance Act 63 of 2001 (“UIF Act“) by proposing 10 weeks adoption leave for adoptive parents and 10 weeks commissioning parental leave for commissioning parents in a surrogate motherhood agreement.

The LLAB provides that a collective agreement may not reduce an employee’s entitlement to parental, adoption or commissioning parental leave. It further seeks to amend the UIF Act to provide for the right to claim parental and commissioning parental benefits from the UIF.

The LLAB will now proceed to National Council of Provinces and National Assembly which must pass the bill before being assented to by the President.