Lockdown labour regulations explained
What should workers take into consideration when it comes to having to take leave during the lockdown period?
Should they take temporary unemployment and apply for UIF or should they take forced leave?
Refilwe Moloto speaks to Verlie Oosthuizen, employment law expert, and partner at Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys.
For some people, it is going to be financially more viable and will be closer to their proper remuneration if they take their annual leave. And that is on condition that they have got annual leave due to them.Verlie Oosthuizen, Employment law expert and partner - Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys
Oosthuizen says this applies to people who are earning well in excess of the threshold that has been offered,
The threshold offered by the temporary relief fund is a maximum of R17,000 per month.
And that would only be a portion of your salary, so that is not guaranteed.Verlie Oosthuizen, Employment law expert and partner - Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys
The temporary Relief Fund has stated clearly it will not pay any employee who has made the application more than R17, 000 a month, even if you earn way in excess of that.
So if you were usually earning R50, 000 a month, you would not be getting more than R17,000 a month if you decided to go with the option of that temporary relief.Verlie Oosthuizen, Employment law expert and partner - Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys
But, she says, many may not have annual leave owing to them which raises another issue.
A lot of people don't have all of their annual leave owing to them.Verlie Oosthuizen, Employment law expert and partner - Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys
So choosing to take annual leave may not cover the whole 21-day lockdown period.
And no work no pay is the usual principle that applies.Verlie Oosthuizen, Employment law expert and partner - Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys
The temporary Relief Fund says you are not allowed to receive the benefit if you are getting paid. She says it is quite a loose definition so it means if you receive some payment from a portion of annual leave, you will unlikely get any relief.
Under the UIF you always only receive a proportion of what you earn.
You never get your full salary.Verlie Oosthuizen, Employment law expert and partner - Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys
She says it raises questions such as if the lockdown is extended and employees have no more leave days left, will they be able to dip into that temporary relief fund?
It is not clear.Verlie Oosthuizen, Employment law expert and partner - Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys
In cases where businesses, such as some restaurants, who are choosing to retrench employees during this period, she says employees are entitled to severance pay - one week's pay for every completed year worked, notice pay (which is anything between one and four weeks) and they are also entitled to their annual leave that is outstanding.
It is an unprecedented situation. We are dealing with an economy that is in clear distress.Verlie Oosthuizen, Employment law expert and partner - Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys
In an ideal situation, government says it would be preferable if employers could continue paying employees during the period of lockdown.
Government is hoping employers will continue paying employees in any event, which is completely unrealistic.Verlie Oosthuizen, Employment law expert and partner - Shepstone and Wylie Attorneys
Listen to the interview below:
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