The Coronavirus (otherwise known as COVID-19) has very quickly turned how we do business on its head. Most noticeable are the social distancing requirements, and business closures relating to the lockdown levels South Africa is still operating under. The pressures of “business unusual” are vast and the uncertainty created by the myriad of new regulations overwhelming for employers and employees alike.
On the upside, Covid-19 has pushed many businesses and individuals to leap into the Fourth Industrial Revolution. We have embraced the technology available to us, allowing our professional team to deliver our services, and ensure our clients continue to receive the value that they’ve always expected from us, albeit in a slightly different format.
There are very few businesses that will emerge from Covid-19 unscathed. The dynamic operating restrictions, continuous flow of new regulations, workforce risk management and economic challenges mean that, for most business leaders and HR professionals, tough decisions need to be made to reinvent the business for survival.
With the urgency created by unprecedented drops in activity and revenue generation, it is tempting to make unilateral changes, including retrenchments, restructuring as well as re-setting of terms of employment.
And whilst there may well be a pressing need to take swift action, it should be remembered that these actions still need to be considered within the context of the South African labour law environment and our courts. Case law remains a key component in directing how companies deal fairly and consistently with their employees and to mitigate risks associated with recourse. We know for example that more than 5000 unfair dismissal matters were lodged with the CCMA in just the first lockdown period!
This year’s Mid-Year Labour Law Update, hosted by labour law expert and Global Business Solutions joint-CEO, Jonathan Goldberg, will provide guidance that will ensure compliance and best practice during and beyond Covid-19. As usual, we will discuss arbitration awards, Labour Court and Constitutional Court rulings, and address amendments to labour and related statutes. Unpacking important case law and legislative developments provides practical guidelines for how you can deal with similar situations in your business, correctly and effectively.