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How the labour laws were amended in South Africa 

Additional amendments have been effected to these acts to achieve the following:

  • To bring them in line with labour law developments
  • To improve the functioning of the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and
  • To fulfill our obligations as a member state of the International Labour Organisation (ILO).

The Employment Services Bill is also being published on 17 December 2010. The significance of the Employment Services Bill lies in the legal framework that it provides for the operation of employment services in South Africa. Legislation in this area is required in light of the transfer of the skills development functions to the Department of Higher Education and Training. Previously, the employment services were provided for in the Skills Development Act which is now the mandate of the Department of Higher Education and Training.

The Employment Services Bill also has relevance to labour broking as it makes provision for the regulation of temporary employment services by government.

The following are, in summary, the major areas of amendment in the bills.

1. Labour Relations Amendment Bill, 2010

  • Regulating contract work –  A proposed amendment aims to stop the practice of repeated contracting for short-term periods. The onus will be on employers to justify the use of short-term or fixed term contracts, in place of contracting employees on a permanent basis.
  • Addressing the problem of labour broking – The Labour Relations Amendment Bill proposes to repeal section 198 that deals with Temporary Employment Services in the Labour Relations Act (no 66 of 1995). The department is introducing a new Employment Services Bill which will address both Private and Public Employment Services.
  • Defining the employer and employee – The Bill introduces a new definition of employer and employee to give greater certainty to the employment relationship.  As a result of the new definition of employer, no temporary employment service will be able to be the employer of workers that it places in work.
  • Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) – The bill proposes a range of amendments to the provisions that deal with the CCMA to facilitate dispute resolution and enhance the efficiency of the CCMA’s operations.

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