The National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA) has issued the following guidelines regarding the anticipated protest action on 7 April 2017.
There has been a lot of speculation doing the rounds as to the rights of employees to attend the planned protest action or alternatively where employees do not wish to report for duty due to safety reasons.
Since this protest action is not regulated by the Labour Relations Act the situation appears to be somewhat unclear.
The granting of leave always remain the sole prerogative of the employer. However, in considering whether or not leave should be granted for the purposes of this protest action, employers must be mindful not to establish a precedent by the granting of leave, especially since employees might expect to be granted a similar privilege should they wish to participate in similar future mass action.
In the absence of any arrangement to this effect with the employer, the unauthorized absence from work will trigger the ‘no work no pay’ principle and normal disciplinary procedures should apply.
In order to remove all risk from the above equation, employers might consider closing their businesses for the day. In this instance employees must be remunerated for the day.
Author: Gerhard Papenfus, Chief Executive of the National Employers’ Association of South Africa (NEASA).