Employment Contracts and employment conditions

An employment contract is a special agreement between two parties in which the one will render a service or work for the other party for any type of remuneration. The parties must agree on the starting date (the contract can be indefinite or for a fixed term) and the work the employee must do as well as the remuneration the employee will receive. The rest of the agreement regulates work hours, lunch breaks, leave, sick leave and other terms and conditions of employment. Different types of employment contracts exist. They are mainly divided into permanent, fixed term or temporary agreements, part time agreements and Temporary employment services agreements (Labour Broker agreements). The Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 75 of 1997, requires the employment conditions to be supplied to the employee in writing. The fact that the employee does not have an employment contract does not mean the employee is not employed. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act regulates basic conditions of employment and has the effect that all the basic conditions as set out by the act, become the basic conditions of all employees, automatically. An employer and employee cannot contract out of the BCEA in an employment contract. Any term in an employment contract that is contra to the BCEA is not binding on the employee.

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Other Articles in this Category:

Signing Away Retrenchment: Voluntary Retrenchment Agreements
By Kellie-Kirsty Hennessy

“Recession is when a neighbor loses his job. Depression is when you lose yours.” - Ronald Reagan.

Receiving notice of your pending retrenchment can make any employee burst into a cold sweat. Placed in this state of anxiety and stress, most employees are caught like a ‘deer-in-headlights’, not knowing what their rights are, or the implications behind signing these rights away.

Termination and payments on termination of service
Johanette Rheeder

Employers are not always aware of what an employee is entitled to upon termination of service. Especially, when the relationship ends with debt being owed to the employer. Can the employer for instance, deduct the debt from the employee’s salary, leave pay or pension benefits and if so, how much can be deducted. If the full amount cannot be deducted, then what can be deducted if any? Another issue to consider is what to do with damages, can the employer deduct damages caused by an employee from her salary?

Fixed Term Agreements
Johanette Rheeder

The controversy about A-typical agreements and more particularly fixed term agreements is hotly debated and surely to be part of the legislative changes envisaged for the near future. Various CCMA cases in 2010 dealt again with the question of renewal of fixed term agreements, legitimate expectations and dismissal of fixed term employees.

Reasonable expectation of renewal of fixed term contracts
Johanette Rheeder

The issue concerning legitimate expectation is dealt with in terms of section 186(1)(b) of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (“the Act/LRA”) which includes a dismissal’ to mean that (b) employee reasonably expected the employer to renew a fixed-term contract of employment on the same or similar terms but the employer offered to renew it on less favourable terms or did not renew it.”

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