Welcome to the third edition of the Labour Law Newsflash for 2018.

Our highly anticipated Third Annual Employment Law Conference took place at the beginning of the month. The feedback we received from delegates was extremely positive and there were many valuable take-homes that people took back to their respective companies.Here are some of the nuggets of information that the speakers delivered.

Enoch Godongwana, Head of the Economic Transformation Committee in the African National Congress (ANC)

The original iteration of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) was drafted with a view to empowering South African workers so that – among others – the ills of the past could be redressed. However, since then a trust disconnect has developed between employers and employees. Thus, it is necessary to bridge this gap if South Africa is going to move forward in all respects.

Chris Darroll: founder and Chief Executive of Small Business Project (SBP)

SBP performed some seminal research into the 2014 amendments to the LRA as well as what South African employers thought of these. Chris presented these findings and, among others, stated that participants in the research felt that the LRA amendments were too strict and urgent amendments were needed. As such, an economic decline was being felt in South Africa.

Matthew Lester: Professor of Tax at Rhodes University

The late Matthew Lester delved deeper into the economic situation in which South Africa finds itself. He reiterated the point made by Chris that there is an incredibly high level of unemployment in South Africa – almost 18 million people do not have jobs. There is very little hope of righting the economy unless jobs are created for these individuals.

Advocate Tanya Venter: CEO of Tokiso Dispute Resolution

In her presentation, Tanya looked at the system of law which has been adopted by the South African courts – i.e. the adversarial system in which the two parties are literally adversaries and fight for their clients’ case – and suggested that perhaps this system is not entirely appropriate for labour law as it is too driven.

Advocate Anton Myburgh, SC

As a result of the adversarial system adopted, many disputes – which should never reach forums such as the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) – are being heard here. Anton suggested that it is vital to make some critical amendments to the LRA including the right to dismiss senior employees without the clogging up the dispute resolution system.

Doris Viljoen: Senior Futurist at the Institute for Futures Research at Stellenbosch University

The world of work is changing. A lot of the jobs we know today will not be in existence 10 or 20 years down the line while others that we have never even thought of will become commonplace. Doris looked at how the workplace is changing as well as hypothesising about some of the jobs which could come on line such as climate-change-mitigation specialists.

Thembi Chagonda: MD of Global Business Solutions

The future workplace presents some unique challenges that need to be overcome. As an example, Thembi looked at the issue of transgender and mixed-race employees – something that did not present a significant issue to the workplace previously – as well as how you would need to treat individuals who fall within these two categories.

Jonathan Goldberg: CEO of Global Business Solutions

The economic landscape is very tumultuous – as was highlighted by Matthew. The legal landscape is equally so. In my presentation, I highlighted some key aspects of the labour law changes which are set to be signed into law this year. Interest-based arbitration in prolonged strikes  forms a significant part of this and Craig Kirchmann – the founding partner of Kirchmanns Incorporated – reiterated this point.

Amendments to parental leave benefits are proposed as follows:

  • Ten consecutive days of parental leave be allotted when a child is born or adopted,
  • Ten consecutive weeks’ of adoption leave be allowed if the child adopted is below the age of two; if there are two adoptive parents one may apply for parental leave and the other for adoption leave,
  • Ten weeks’ of commissioning parental leave for parents who have entered into a surrogate motherhood agreement; if there are two commissioning parents, one may apply for parental leave and the other for commissioning parental leave.

Our next headline event is the Mid-Year Labour Law Update which will be held in various centres around the country. During this day-long seminar, I will be discussing a selection of the labour law cases which have taken place in the last six months and will impact your business. The dates are as follows:

  • Cape Town: 15 June 2018. To book, click here.
  • Durban: 16 May 2018. To book, click here.
  • East London: 15 May 2018. To book, click here.
  • Johannesburg: 20 June 2018. To book, click here.
  • Port Elizabeth: 13 June 2018. To book, click here.

‘Til next time,

Johnny and Grant


Jonathan Goldberg and Grant Wilkinson