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About to sign a new employment contract? Scorpion Legal Protection says you must check these three things first.
Check that everything discussed in person or over the phone is included in your employment contract. What was promised to you in an interview may not be included in your employment contract, and if it isn’t, it may be difficult to prove that you are entitled to it. This could include an agreement that you can work from home some or all of the time.
Also be sure to check that any bonuses, medical aid benefits, petrol allowance, phone allowance and any other benefits they offered you verbally are listed in the employment contract. Check the terms of these – your company may offer bonuses but could say that they are dependent on your performance or the company’s performance, so it isn’t a given that you will always get a bonus.
Your employer may stipulate that employees must take leave over the company shutdown period, which means you will have to use your annual leave over this period and may not be able to take it at other times during the year (depending on how much leave you get). They are allowed to do this, and many industries do, so make sure you check this so that there are no surprises for you down the line.
By law, you are entitled to 21 consecutive days’ annual leave on full remuneration in every annual leave cycle. In other words, if you work a five-day week then this is equal to 15 working days, or if you work a six-day week then it is equal to 18 working days.
The BCEA sets out minimum notice periods that all employers must comply with to protect both you and the employer, but employers may request longer notice periods. The minimum notice period you have to work according to the BCEA depends on how long you’ve been working at the company:
The industry you work in is important, since some sectors have their own collective agreement from a Bargaining Council which will apply. The Act stipulates that notice of termination of a contract of employment must be given in writing, except when it is given to or by any illiterate employee.
It’s also important to check if they say a 30-day notice period (unspecified), 30 business days’ notice period or one calendar month. A 30-day notice period (unspecified) means that notice can be given on any day of the month and your employment contract will then terminate in exactly 30 days’ time (the 30 days will include weekends), whereas 30 business days means only Monday-Friday (excluding public holidays and weekends) will count as part of the 30 days. A calendar month could mean that the employer expects you to let them know on the first of the month – so from the 1st to the 30th/31st would be one calendar month – or a month in terms of one day in particular until the corresponding day of the next month. Make sure you clarify this with the employer.
You may also be interested in:
Relocate or lose my job?
Can you be fired for being drunk at work?
Forced to take leave over shutdown
Have you got a legal question? Ask it at the Scorpion Legal Protection Live Q&A session on Facebook. It happens every first Thursday of the month from 11:30- 13:30, and you don’t have to be a member to get free legal advice.
* This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 17 February 2022
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