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Employment Termination

Severance pay: the ‘reasonable’ alternative

If you dismiss one of your employees because of operational reasons, you must pay him or her severance pay. You must pay them one week's remuneration for every continuous year that they've spent at your company. However, if you offer this employee alternative employment – and that employee unreasonably refuses – you aren't legally obligated to give severance pay.

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Can you use affirmative action as a legitimate selection measurement during retrenchment?

Using affirmative action as a criterion, for selecting employees for retrenchment, in the employment industry is the subject of intense debate. Hugo Pienaar (director in the employment practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr) and Antonia Pereira (candidate attorney in the employment practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr) clarify this area for employers.

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Mandatory retirement: a gift horse with some bite

There's no prescribed retirement age in South African labour law. Each employer or sector is left to its own devices to establish its mandatory retirement age and this can be done with reference to employment contracts, company policy or even provident/retirement fund rules and regulations. For example, the furniture bargaining council set its mandatory retirement age at sixty-five. However, none of the restaurant, metal engineering, motor industry or road freight bargaining councils have set a mandatory retirement age although a number do make provision for a fund. This lack of uniformity can result in uncertainty where mandatory retirement is concerned.

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Incapacity dismissals: Not “here” doesn’t mean “gone”

The employment contract creates reciprocal duties between the employer and the employee. The employee's primary duty is to perform the work for which he has been contracted. But what happens when performance become impossible because of ill-health or injury? Contractually, this is grounds to cancel the contract. But labour law doesn't allow for someone's employment to be terminated that way. . Read on to find out about the incapacity investigation process.

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You can be a whistleblower and not face dismissal

'Whistleblowing' refers to the practice whereby employees report the wrongdoings of their employer or fellow employees to the proper authorities. The Protected Disclosures Act (PDA) No. 26 of 2000 is a piece of legislation aimed at corporate governance and attempts to provide safeguards for whistleblowers who follow the prescribed procedure. Despite this, most employees wouldn't consider blowing the whistle – and risking dismissal - even if faced with dire circumstances. This article explores why.

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