Prospects of employment security for employees on fixed-term contracts in terms of South African labour legislation
Limema, Nkosana Clement
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This study aims to evaluate the prospects of employment security for employees employed on fixed-term basis in South Africa, in terms of the labour legislation. The study has been triggered by the recent developments in the labour law field, in particular, the Labour Relations Amendment Act 6 of 2014 which came into force in January 2015, and which has effected a great deal of amendments on the provisions of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995. The specific amendments of particular interest herein relate to the fixed-term work in South Africa. Section 30 of the Amendment Act has amended section 186 of the Labour Relations Act dealing with dismissals, in particular, dismissal of employees on fixed-term contracts. Section 186 of the Labour Relations Act of 1995 defined dismissal of fixed-term employees as including a situation where the employer fails to renew the fixed-term contract, or renewed it on less favourable terms, in circumstances where the employee had reasonable expectation that such contract would be renewed on the same or similar terms. However the Amendment Act widens the scope of dismissal and provides that where the employer fails to retain the employee on permanent basis or offers to retain him on less favourable terms in circumstances where the employee had reasonable expectation to be retained on the same or similar terms, it amounts to dismissal. Most interestingly, section 198B of the Amendment Act limits duration of a fixed-term contract to three months. Since one of the objectives of this Amendment Act is to provide greater protection to employees in atypical employment, and to regulate fixed-term work with a view of creating job security, the study herein investigates whether the Act does achieve that purpose. The study does that by determining the practical effectiveness of these new provisions. A comparative reflection is made in chapter five, between United Kingdom and South African labour provisions.
- Law