Employment and Employee Benefits: Knowledge exchange and networking session

​On Thursday, 24 August, our Employee Benefits team shared insights on various employment legislation and case law developments and trends that employers need to be aware of. Some of these developments and trends are summarised below:

  • ​​Lizle Louw unpacked how employers cannot use replacement labour in a lockout if the lockout is not​ in response to a strike. That is the basic principle highlighted in the Constitutional Court's judgment in early 2023 in NUMSA v Trenstar. . The important lesson for employers is to maintain a good understanding of the on-the-ground realities of employee movements during strikes and, more importantly, alleged suspensions of strikes.
  • Dhevarsha Ramjettan shared practical touchpoints on the Employment Equity Amendment Act (EEAA) read with the draft Regulations published in 2018 and 2023, respectively. The draft regulations are still being scrutinised and questions are being raised about their legality.
  • Mbali Nkosi commented on how the COIDA Amendments will require employers and o​ther relevant stakeholders to provide services and facilities including clinical and social rehabilitation to assist employees who have suffered a workplace injury or illness to regain or obtain employment or independence. Draft regulations published in June provide greater detail on these obligations. Read more about the draft regulations here.
  • Dumisani Ndiweni further unpacked how the Protected Disclosures Act (PDA) protects whistleblowers from reprisals if they have made disclosures about their employer.. However, the PDA has proven inadequate in protecting the wellbeing of whistleblowers. The following changes are anticipated: the expansion of the definition of whistleblower, the introduction of penalties and consequences for those who retaliate against whistleblowers, the implementation of financial incentives for those who participate in whistleblowing activity, and the introduction of a specialised court to deal with protective disclosures.
  • Mehnaaz Bux discussed how the use of AI in the workplace will be subject to legislation that already governs the employment relationship, governing not only outcomes but processes as well. AI can also be used to improve recruitment processes, including shortlisting certain candidates, but it should not perpetuate unintentional bias, leading to discriminatory outcomes – read more on this topic here.
  • Brett Abraham concluded the session by highlighting how employers should recognise and benefit from the strengths of neurodiverse individuals rather than stigmatising the weaknesses associated with neurodiverse conditions. Hiring neurodiverse employees is a recruitment strategy for particular positions in areas such as innovation, finance and defence. If we do not recognise the diversity of these employees, conflict can result with employers and colleagues because neurodiverse individuals work and communicate in a different way – read more about this topic here.
Webber Wentzel > News > Employment and Employee Benefits: Knowledge exchange and networking session
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