Business Unity South Africa (BUSA) and the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) have collaborated to launch a free-to-use Web Tool dedicated to help smaller businesses with labour relations processes and matters.
The joint initiative is one of the flagship projects outlined in the Presidential Jobs Summit Framework Agreement and has gone live following intensive testing and content mapping.
The project germinated from a BUSA study conducted in 2015/16, which showed that small businesses struggled with labour relations and that this was a key impediment to their formalisation and willingness to employ. Also, of concern – and a key spark to conceptualising the Web Tool – was that CCMA statistics reveal that an estimated 80% of the institution’s dispute cases originate from small businesses.
The joint BUSA-CCMA Web Tool has up-to-date information including the recent amendments to Employment Law that factor the National Minimum Wage Act, as well as contract templates, information sheets and guides on labour law requirements. Small business owners can utalise the user-friendly Web Tool to source information about: how to recruit; how to manage employees and build sound workplace relationships; how to end the employment relationship in a fair manner; and much more.
The Web Tool project falls in line with the National Development Plan’s (NDP’s) ambitious forecast that no fewer than 90% of new jobs will be created by small businesses. However, red tape and significant bureaucratic hurdles have been cited for the high failure rate of small businesses in South Africa, as well as the country’s low levels of grassroots entrepreneurial activities. BUSA and the CCMA believe this Web Tool will go a long way in unburdening small businesses from having to navigate through regulatory hoops.
In South Africa, many small businesses do not have in-house labour law expertise or the financial resources to comply with the complex administrative burden of hiring and managing staff. In addition, the cost of compliance is proportionately higher for small businesses. This often leads to non-compliance, a higher number of labour disputes and, at times, protracted court cases that are often detrimental to employment and the potential growth and success of small businesses.
How the Web Tool will help small business
The Web Tool is designed to:
- Cut red tape and associated costs of labour relations compliance for small business
- Contribute to workplace stability for small business owners
- Improve employer and employee understanding of the Employment Laws
- Improve legislative compliance and push for formalising small businesses
- The Web Tool is targeted at small businesses, but is generally accessible to the public free of charge
- The Web Tool provides step-by-step guidance on employment law compliance requirements, and is a self-help tool that demystifies labour relations
- The Web Tool minimises the need to find and pay consultants or labour lawyers for basic industrial relations processes
Project scope and future interventions
- In late 2018, BUSA piloted the project on a focus group of small businesses to determine areas of interests and needs for future enhancement of the Web Tool were identified
- The Tool may, with time, be extended into other areas to support small businesses gain access to information that is user friendly
- The Web Tool can be accessed on: smelaboursupport.co.za
Web Tool main sections:
- How to recruit, select, appoint and contract employees
- How to manage employees during employment
- How to end the employment relationship in a fair manner
Web Tool covers:
- Contracts of employment and Basic Conditions of Employment for full-time, part-time and fixed-term contracts
- Misconduct, incapacity and operational requirements processes and templates
- Union representation and organisational rights steps
- Strike or lockout steps and processes
Long term, the Web Tool will reside with the CCMA and BUSA to ensure on-going maintenance and updating as required, as well as exploring in future the possibility of embedding the web-based resource into a call center.