The amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997 (“BCEA”) have commenced with effect from 1 September 2014. This follows hot on the heels after President Jacob Zuma signed the Labour Relations Amendment Act, 2014 into law on 17 August 2014.
Certain highlights of the amendments include the fact that the Minister now has the power to make a blanket determination for employers and employees who are not covered by a sectoral determination. As a consequence, the Minister may determine minimum rates and increases of employees falling within such determination.
An employer may no longer require that employees purchase uniforms and must now provide all items which the employee is expected to have unless it is a scheme in which the employee will derive financial benefit or the price of the goods, products or services provided by the scheme are fair and reasonable.
The amendments prohibit or regulate task based work, piece work, home work, the placement of employees by temporary employment services, sub-contracting and contract work.
The Labour Court has been afforded exclusive jurisdiction in respect of all matters emanating from the BCEA.
Significantly, the Minister can, subject to certain provisions, make a sectoral determination that will set the threshold of representativeness through which a trade union will have automatic organisational rights in respect of all workplaces covered by that sectoral determination.
There are also amendments to the prohibition of the employment of children and forced labour.