LABOUR UPDATE: Interpretation of the six months clause

Temporary Employment Services and the proposed Labour Law Amendments


With regards to the latest media reports in terms of the proposed Labour Law amendments, the following misinterpretation of the six months clause:

“Further to that, the new Labour law amendments which are in front of parliament to become an Act, states that it will be illegal for Employers to keep Employees in their employment for more than 6 months without employing them as their full time employees and also the bill on equal pay for the work of the equal value.”

We all know that the interpretation is wrong but employers need to be correctly armed with the correct response to this.

What happens to my temporary employees through the Temporary Employment Services (TES) after 6 months? Do they become my employees?

After consideration of the Act and the statements made by the Department, in essence the employee will be deemed an employee of the company after the 6 month period for the purposes of the Labour Relations Act only. What this in essence means is that whilst the employees may remain on the TES’s books, these employees may cite both the TES and their client company in a dispute and that the company would not be able to turn around and feign ignorance to avoid liability. This amounts to joint and several liability and your risk area is around dismissals. Similarly when the employee (subject to application being limited to those paid under the threshold amount – R183 003) has completed 6 months’ service, then the principles of equal pay for work of equal value shall apply. That is only where you have an exact comparator in your permanent workforce. Issues like length of service, quantity and quality of output, qualification and experience and any other non-discriminatory factors will justify a differential. Contact your local Express office for more information on employment services.


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