How to implement short-time
What do you do if your business is being adversely affected by economic factors that are out of your control e.g. reduction in turnover, cancellation of order etc and you cannot afford to keep someone (or a group of employees) employed on a full-time basis?
Before embarking on a retrenchment exercise an employer has to consider alternatives such as short-time in terms of the Labour Relations Act (LRA) if work is diminishing or the business is not doing well for some reason.
If the economic situation the business is facing appears to be temporary then the employer must invite the employee/s to a meeting and disclose the factors that are negatively affecting the business. The employer must explain that it believes that, in order for the employee/s to retain jobs, it believes that it is necessary to introduce short-time.
You must explain that this is a short term measure that will be reviewed over time and, depending on whether the circumstances change, the employee/s may return to working their original working hours. When meeting also ask the employee/s whether they can suggest any alternatives.
It is very important to fully explain the reasons / rationale for wanting to introduce short-time and that it is a temporary measure that will be reviewed over time. If an employee does not want to work short-time, the employer can consider implementing a retrenchment process (Section 189 of the LRA) as an alternative.
Does an employer have to pay for study leave?
Study leave isn’t regulated by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) and employers generally have their own internal policies regulating study leave. If the employer’s conditions of employment do not provide for study leave, the employer is not obliged to pay for study leave. The employee will need to take annual or unpaid leave. This will apply for courses which are related or not related to the nature of the employers business.