By NONGCEBO DLAMINI | 2020-06-05
ABOUT 57 companies have been granted permission to lay off their employees by the ministry of labour and social security.
This was revealed by Labour Commissioner Mthunzi Shabangu during an interview.
Shabangu stated that requests to lay off employees have been flooding his office from several companies, more especially during the time of the partial lockdown. He stated that just this week, over 9 000 workers from several companies were affected by this, and this has been daunting.
“It is evident that more people are yet to lose their jobs, because we have been receiving requests through and through,” he said. Shabangu mentioned that in order for the requests to be approved, employers have to undergo certain procedures, as it cannot be granted to everyone. He stated, an employer’s application letter for temporary lay-offs will need to satisfy Section 5 (a) of the Guidelines on Employment Contingency Measures in Response to the Coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic and the General Notice No. 22 of 2020, which is a brief outline of the impact or effects of the current situation on the business.
He further mentioned that the employer must demonstrate attempts that have been made to explore and exhaust all options that are meant to mitigate against the effects or loss of earnings listed in Section 4 (a) to (e) of the Guidelines.
“The employer must respond to each of the options listed in this Section, briefly outlining attempts made to explore and exhaust each one of them,” he added.
Shabangu mentioned that there had to be consultations held with the employees or their representatives in the undertaking to explain the need to invoke unpaid lay-offs.
He continued to mention that there also has to be proof of this consultation in the form of the minutes of the consultation meeting, which must be attached on the application letter and must indicate the names of the participants in the meeting and their contacts.
Shabangu said companies that want layoff also need to give the number of employees to be affected by the temporary lay-offs and the fact that the affected employees will not be earning a salary during the period
“We have, however heard that there have been other companies that have decided to lay-off their employees without notifying the ministry of labour and social security and this act will get them into trouble, because they are not following the regulations,” he added.
Shabangu cited that the increasing number of companies wanting to lay off employees was a serious concern, because this will affect the economy in a major way and further increase the rate of unemployment, because even after this lockdown, companies will not be able bring back all their employees.
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