Frequently Asked Questions About HR Compliance
Questions and answers to help you understand HR compliance.
FACTORS TO CONSIDER WHEN DEVELOPING A LEAVE POLICY
1. If the business has a shutdown period, warn employees that it is their responsibility to ensure they have enough leave days to cover the full annual shutdown period.
2. Annual leave must be approved by management. Management is not obliged to approve annual leave every time the employee asks. Both management and the employee should agree when leave can be taken. If no agreement can be reached management has the final say.
3. The business can only pay out leave days when the employee resigns, management dismiss them, with retrenchment, death, or retirement. This only applies to the legal annual leave entitlement of 21 consecutive days (15 working days). The business is not legally entitled to pay out for any other annual leave days that they give their employees over and above this. Make sure that the leave policy clearly explains how the business will treat any additional leave days they receive.
4. Make sure the policy complies with labour laws. Also ensure the conditions are reasonable and you can legally enforce them.
5. It’s illegal to require or allow an employee to do any work while on leave, whether annual leave, sick leave, family responsibility leave, unpaid leave or maternity leave.
6. If an employee falls ill during their annual leave and produces a valid medical certificate to prove the sick days, then the business must convert those days to sick leave. Credit the employee’s annual leave entitlement with the number of days covered by the medical certificate.
HOW TO CERTIFY THAT EMPLOYEES AREN’T RECEIVING BRIBES
It’s all about putting the right systems in place:
• Clarify what the company’s stance is about staff receiving gifts and think about whether the gift giving is fair.
• Make employees report the gifts they receive so you can monitor the appropriateness and frequency of the gifts. Gift registers are a good idea. Some policies require staff to declare gifts over a certain value, e.g. R 500
• Ensure your suppliers know your gift policy and are aware you encourage them to report any instances where an employee has attempted to request a bribe. Return any unsuitable gifts given to your employees.
• Keep an eye on your employees’ lifestyle. If they appear to have more money than they should, investigate.
• Know your suppliers. Understand why your employee has decided to do business with a particular supplier. Investigate any possible personal relationship between them.
• Watch the relationship between your employee and the supplier. If they are becoming friendly on a personal level, maybe someone else in the department should deal with the supplier.
These issues need to be stated clearly and the consequences need to be made clear to all employees.
QUICK TIPS TO MANAGE FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY LEAVE
1. Allow your employees to use available annual leave or take unpaid leave if they have used up their family responsibility leave.
2. Pay your employees legally for family responsibility leave. You must pay your employee his usual wage he would have received for that day (on their usual payday) for a day’s family responsibility leave.
3. Keep good personnel records. Track patterns of absence, leave and sick leave regularly for all employees to identify if there is any trend of abuse.
4. Always be consistent when granting family responsibility leave. If you grant additional family responsibility leave to one employee based on their particular situation, you must grant this to all employees in a similar situation.
WHY YOU SHOULD DO A LEAVE AUDIT TODAY
Auditing how your company deals with annual leave will let you determine:
• If you comply with the laws regarding annual leave
– If you don’t comply with the legal requirements, you could face hefty penalties and fines when the Department of Labour audits your workplace; and you could face allegations of unfair discrimination or unfair labour practices from unhappy staff.
• How much money outstanding leave is costing you.
– Any leave that crosses a pay increase date will cost you more. Leave that’s accrued in the following financial year will increase the leave bill for your company. The more you allow your employees to accumulate leave, the heftier the leave bill becomes. This could severely affect your organisation in the long run.
WHAT SHOULD MY GRIEVANCE PROCEDURE INCLUDE?
1. Encourage employees to lodge grievances as soon as the incident arises.
2. Have an exact description of what may be lodged, giving examples. For example, it could state that the grievance procedure can’t be invoked where an employee is unhappy about disciplinary action that has been taken against them.
3. Include a statement that complaints should be lodged as close to the source as possible. Failure to do so undermines the authority of your managers and leaves them severely disillusioned.
4. Have clear cut deadlines for the resolution of grievances.
5. Ensure a hierarchy of reporting grievances, so that employees can lodge complaints against their immediate line managers.
6. Have clear forms, designed to facilitate proper lodging of grievances.
7. Include a statement that the decision of the MD (the final step in lodging a complaint) is binding
8. Make sure you have ongoing training for both staff and managers around the grievance procedure.
HOW CAN AN HR AUDIT KEEP YOUR BUSINESS COMPLIANT?
Much of HR is based on legislative requirements, either because the law requires something to be done, for example, keeping certain records such as attendance registers or remuneration information or because the law requires that a process is conducted in a certain way, for example, following a fair procedure when conducting a disciplinary hearing and ensuring that the sanction is based fairly on the facts that were uncovered during the hearing.
Your HR Policies and procedures are guidelines for your managers and employees on how to carry out operations at your company. An HR audit checks to see:
• Whether your HR policies and procedures are appropriately aligned to the labour legislation;
• Whether your company guidelines are being adhered to by your managers and employees;
• What the level of compliance within the company is; and
• What areas and level of risk there is in terms of non-compliance within your company.
HR Audits determine whether your company operates within the labour laws and in a fair manner that is free from unfair workplace discrimination.
HOW MUCH ANNUAL LEAVE IS AN EMPLOYEE ENTITLED TO?
The minimum amount of leave is 15 working days per annum (21 consecutive days) for a 5 day per week employee on full pay. This is calculated in each annual leave cycle or in each 12 months from the date of employment.
Annual leave automatically accrues to an employee.
The leave accrues at the rate of:
• 1 hour for every 17 hours worked,
• 1 day for every 17 days worked,
• Or 1.25 days per month
The Basic Conditions of Employment refers to 21 consecutive days. If you check the calendar you will see that if your employee works a 5 day week, then 21 consecutive days is 15 working days.
If your employee works a 6 day week, they are entitled to 21 consecutive days. This means they will receive 18 working days on full pay. Their 18 working days will work out to the equivalent of 21 consecutive days.
“I recently had the pleasure of using FIC CONSULTING, and Tiaan Dwyer. He is very professional and incredibly knowledgeable, and an absolute gentleman. He focuses on small/ medium businesses. As an owner of a small business trying to navigate staff issues and labour law is a nightmare.
Should you need assistance with anything labour related, please do not hesitate to contact him. 5 star service is what you will get. Thank you Tiaan for all your help.”
Lisa Klimke – Owner Second Chance Clothing store
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