'Love thy labour' is a weekly column published in the Cape Argus, written by labour law expert Michael Bagraim. Picture: Tracey Adams/African News Agency/ANA
All businesses, regardless of their size and industry, must adhere to various administrative regulations.

This administration is specifically needed for the Department of Labour to do its work properly, and for employees and trade unions to ensure that people are treated fairly and are fully protected by the labour law.

All employers must have this paperwork in order to ensure that any employee, trade union or departmental official may check up against the paperwork in order to assess whether the treatment is fair at work.

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First, a wage register in terms of the Conditions of Employment Act has to be completed. There is a specific form, BCEA2, which must be filled in and kept in the employer’s possession.

The employer must keep the wage register for three years from the date of the last entry. Under the act, no person may make a false entry in the record.

Furthermore, an attendance register has to be kept by the employer and has to be kept in the employer’s possession for three years after the last entry.

Whenever an employer has, under section 16 of the act, required or committed an employee to perform work on a Sunday, he grants the employee a day off during the next week. The day off or a day's leave must be clearly indicated in the date column on the day concerned.

Once more, the register must be produced and given as evidence to the Department of Labour or the trade unions should they require same.

Another vital document is the payslip which contains information that once again serves as proof for employers and employees. The information must be shown on each payslip. In particular, the full value of the remuneration, including payment in kind, must be specified. The employer's name and address and the employees' name, address and identification number, including occupation, must be spelt out.

The pay period and the manner of payment must be outlined. The ordinary hours worked and the overtime worked, including Sundays and public holidays, must be specified.

Another vital document for all employees is the Certificate of Service which is a proof of employment with the employer. The employer must complete the form and give it to an employee when the employee leaves. This form must be issued upon termination of employment, and the reason for the termination of employment must be given only if requested by the employee.

There are many other forms and obligations on employers which are vital. In essence, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act is there to give effect to the right to fair labour practices referred to in the constitution.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act applies to all employees. Certain sections are not applicable to senior and managerial employees, and each chapter outlines who will be exempt from various clauses.

The basis of our labour laws is outlined in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act which must be read with the Labour Relations Act and other pieces of labour legislation.

The act regulates working time, meal intervals, payment for Sundays and daily and weekly rest periods.

All employees and their shop stewards should at least have a basic understanding of the various chapters in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act which carefully outlines both rights and obligations for their daily work life.

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Under section 1 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, every employer must keep a record containing at least the following:

Employees' names and occupations.

The time worked by each employee.

The remuneration paid to each employee.

The date of birth of any employee under 18 years of age.

Any other prescribed information.

These records must also be kept for three years after the date of the last entry.

* Michael Bagraim is a labour lawyer.

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

Cape Argus