John Botha, Joint CEO of Global Business Solutions believes that imminent shifts in legislation will impact labour law in South Africa. Several new pieces of legislation are set to be implemented in 2024 requiring adaptation from employers.
Botha says organisations must demonstrate strategic foresight and adaptability to navigate these impending changes effectively. Compliance, inclusivity, and a focus on building resilient and sustainable workplaces are essential for meeting legal requirements and ensuring long-term success in the evolving landscape of labour laws.
New Legislation In 2024
Several new pieces of legislation will be implemented in 2024. However, Botha believes that three pieces of legislation will have a significant impact on the country’s labour landscape.
The Hate Speech Bill is set to be a catalyst for diversity and inclusion initiatives. The pending bill will criminalise hate speech and discrimination and mandate comprehensive diversity and inclusion training within organisations.
Botha believes that proactive measures are necessary to foster a respectful workplace culture.
The hate speech bill is awaiting the president's signature and organisations will be well advised to start looking at, not just revisiting their standards of conduct, but also changing the behaviour and looking at personal mastery when it comes to leading and managing with emotional intelligence
The Administrative Adjudication of Road Traffic Offences (AARTO) Act is set to have a major impact on motorists in South Africa. Drivers who continuously commit offences could even lose their driver's licence.
The new system for traffic fines and demerit points may also impact workers who rely on company vehicles. Botha says compliance is imperative to avoid penalties when.
Will have a massive impact on any employee who relies on their licence to fulfil their job [and] responsibilities. Employees will have to start disclosing their demerit points and organisations might very well require them to go to rehab or if their licence is suspended they might face no work, no pay and potential dismissal.
One of the major pieces of legislation that employers will have to consider is the increment of the National Minimum Wage (NMW).
Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi announced that the NMW will increase from R25.42 to R27.58 for each ordinary hour worked from March 2024.
Botha explains that the increase in the minimum wage will require employers to prepare for the impact of this on their wage structures. However, they acknowledge that a balance between employee well-being and business sustainability must be struck.
Several other pieces of legislation will also impact the labour law landscape.
The National Health Insurance (NHI) Bill proposes a universal healthcare system funded by taxes which may allow employers to evaluate potential effects on employee benefits and wellness programmes.
Meanwhile, the Companies Amendment Bill is set to alter executive remuneration and shareholder rights which may require organisations to realign governance structures accordingly. Additionally, the Tobacco Products & E-delivery Bill calls for a review of workplace policies concerning electronic delivery systems and smoking.
In response to the Employment Equity Amendment Act, companies may have to implement proactive diversity and inclusion strategies. Similarly, the Employment Services Amendment Bill seeks to enhance state-provided employment services and regulate independent contractors and foreign nationals, prompting adjustments in hiring practices.
Furthermore, with the impending Cannabis for Private Purposes Bill, employers must revisit substance use policies to align with the new legal framework. Organisations are also mandated to provide support and reintegrate injured workers following injuries, as stipulated by COIDA – Rehabilitation & Return to Work Regulations.
Lastly, the OHSA Amendment Act introduces measures related to risk assessment, health, and safety committees, emphasising penalties for non-compliance. The BCEA – Parental Leave introduces 10 days of parental leave for employees with young children, prompting organisations to revise their policies accordingly.