File picture: AP Photo/Rogelio V. Solis.
All workers in the wholesale and retail sector are covered by a sectoral determination as set by the Department of Labour. It is decreed under The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 2002.

Workers in the industry are all covered by the sectoral determination, which outlines minimum wages and terms and conditions. The only exemption is when employees are covered by another sectoral determination or a bargaining council.

Employees who work for an employer for 24 hours or less a month, must be paid at least the hourly rate set out in the determination. The sectoral determination increases the daily rate per annum and it is vital for all employers to ensure they pay at least the minimum or above it.

The provisions of The Basic Conditions of Employment Act apply to employees covered by the determination if the sectoral determination is silent on that part of the employment relationship.

An employee who earns commission work regularly must receive at least two-thirds of the applicable minimum wage to which they are entitled. All employees earning commission need a written agreement that outlines the employee’s wage and the basis for calculating commission. It must also state the period over which commission is calculated, and this may not be longer than a month.

The agreement must outline the type, description, number, quantity or value of the sales, margin, profit or orders for which the employee is entitled to earn commission. The employer must supply the employee with a copy of the agreement. If during any calculation period the employee does not earn an amount equivalent to at least the prescribed minimum wage because of any action of the employer, the employer must pay the employee at least the applicable minimum wage.

The employer must pay the employee in rand, and on payday the employer must give the employee a statement showing the employers name and address, the period for which the payment is made and the employee’s wage and overtime rates. The payslip must contain the number of overtime hours worked and the number of hours worked on a public holiday or a Sunday. The details of any other pay, including commission, and deductions must be shown. The employer must retain a copy of the statement for at least three years.

The employer may not deduct from the employee’s remuneration unless there is a written agreement from the employee in respect of a debt specified or the deduction is required or permitted in terms of law, a court order or an arbitration award. The deduction may be taken for a loss or damage which has incurred during the course of the employment and was the employee’s fault.

The employer has to follow a fair procedure that has given the employee a reasonable opportunity to show why the deduction should not be made. The debt amount cannot exceed the amount of the loss or damage. The deductions must not exceed a quarter of the employee’s remuneration in any one month.

Like all employees, they must receive written particulars of employment outlining the wage or rate and method of employment and the rate of pay for overtime work. The written particulars of employment must contain the other pieces of information outlined in the determination. The employee must be supplied with a copy of the particulars of employment, and if there are any changes, this must be put in writing and supplied to the employee again. An employer may not require or permit an employee to work overtime except in accordance with an agreement concluded by the employer and the employee. This must be in writing and reflect all the terms and conditions.

An employer must provide at least two free overalls or coats a year to an employee who is selling or handling foodstuffs, confectionery and/or groceries not repacked in sealed containers. Rain gear must be given to employees who are regularly exposed to wet weather while performing their duties. Any employee who scrubs or washes floors by hand must be given knee pads and the employer must maintain clothing supplied in terms of the agreement. The maintenance must ensure the clothing is clean and in a serviceable condition - at no cost to the employee. The clothing remains the property of the employer and the employer may not prohibit the employee from wearing the outfit while off duty.

Every employer must keep a copy of the sectoral determination, with a summary available at the workplace and to which employees have access.

* Michael Bagraim is a labour lawyer.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media

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