Early start for work making employees tired and grumpy, says labour lawyer

Labour Lawyer Michael Bagraim says South Africans are starting out for work earlier than ever before to beat traffic congestion.

He says it is making employees more irritable, tired and hungry, affecting their well-being and productivity in the workplace.

Bagraim says he tried a case recently where an employee was dismissed for arriving at work late.

I looked at the facts of the case. This person was getting up at 4.40 am to get to work and in fact arrived on that particular occasion only a few minutes late

Michael Bagraim, labour lawyer

Bagraim said it did not sound fair. They began litigation, but the company then settled and reinstated the employee.

But they said you need to come in and check and see what is going on here, because people are constantly getting to work late, harassed and bothered.

Michael Bagraim, labour lawyer

He conducted a small investigation about three weeks ago, and found that people were getting up at about 4 in the morning to get to work by 7.30 or 8 am.

The reality was that across the board, everyone was bothered, tired, hungry and productivity had dropped.

Michael Bagraim, labour lawyer

He says it is endemic. And that issues around train strikes and sabotage has added to the dilemma. And, he says, the problem is nationwide.

Bagraim says legally late employees can be dismissed. But employers need to understand the situation and consider ideas like flexi-time where people start work at different times.


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