On Sunday, 17th August, President Jacob Zuma signed the Labour Relations Amendment Act, 2014 into law. It is still uncertain when the amendments will come into force, but a proclamation in the Government Gazette is anticipated to follow soon establishing a date later this year. The amendments result in significant changes for employers in South Africa.The Amendment Act makes noteworthy changes to the regulation of atypical forms of employment, namely fixed term employment contracts, temporary employees, and employees engaged through labour brokers.
The new statute seeks to 'respond to the increased informalisation of labour' by ensuring that 'vulnerable groups receive adequate protection and are employed in conditions of decent work'. The result of this is likely to be a significant increase in the cost to employers of employing such employees. Employers will only have a three month grace period in which to ensure their practice is aligned with the new requirements once the Act comes into force.
The Act also has further amendments with regards to Organisational Rights, Strike procedures and Dispute Resolution procedures which will also need to be carefully considered once the Act comes into force.