Policies, procedures and labour issues affecting your medical practice
October 5, 2011 @ 3:10 pm
posted by Elja

Deon and I recently attended a very interesting workshop on Policies & Procedures presented by The South African Labour Guide. We felt we needed to get the latest rules and regulations as we are in the business of writing policies, procedures and employment contract for medical practices. The food was awesome, but we also learned a few interesting facts which we would like to share with you.

  • FAMILY RESPONSIBILITY LEAVE:
    • The Basic Conditions of Employment states that employees are entitled to 3 days family responsibility leave where the Sectoral Determination 7 indicates that domestic workers are entitled to 5 days per annum.
    • We suggest you include a section in your employee information form, where they have to list all their immediate family members that are included in the family responsibility section, to ensure employees do not abuse these leave days. It is only considered family responsibility leave if the employee can provide proof.
  • IMPLEMENTING POLICIES
    • Having perfect files full of policies and procedures available in the HR office is not enough. It is important to have a session with employees, giving them time to discuss or ask questions. Afterwards, they should sign a document confirming that the policy was explained and that they understand and are familiar with the content. You can also have video’s or Power Point presentations followed by a basic test. If the person fails the test, then they are called in to explain further detail to them.
  • OVERTIME
    • Overtime is at the discretion of the employer and not the employee. It is only payable if it was worked upon request and mutual agreement.
    • If overtime is part of the employee’s responsibility and contract, he/she can be retrenched if no longer able to work overtime as it is a requirement of the job.
  • RETIREMENT
    • The employer determines the retirement age. The employer may allow an employee to work after retirement at the employer’s discretion. Some individuals can be exempt from the company’s retirement policy. I.e. a 72 year old gardener. Such employee can then later be dismissed through poor performance or incapacity, rather than age. It is illegal to draw a pension and work for an income.
  • ACCUMULATIVE FINAL WRITTEN WARNING
    • This warning is used for employees that are making a mockery of your disciplinary procedure i.e. waiting for the warning to expire and then commit the same offence. They feel they are then safe as the previous warning has expired. This warning will then cover any form of misconduct. You must keep record even of expired warnings as well as any attempts to correct their behaviour.
  • ABSENTEEISM
    • If an employee is late or absent from work due to public transport, it may be deducted from the employee’s remuneration. The employee is still responsible to inform the employer even if they are only 5 minutes late.
    • Being absent from work is not only when you are late, or not at work, it is also selling jewellery at work, surfing the internet for a date, etc. Also, arriving late by 5 minutes, means that time can be deduction from the employee’s remuneration. This in itself is not the punishment though it is fair, you still need to take disciplinary action.
  • DISCIPLINARY HEARINGS
    • The chairman must be neutral. The initiator may not chair the hearing.
  • CAPACITY
    The following steps should be followed if the employee is not able to perform his/her duties correctly:

    • Call the employee in and discuss his/her performance offer training
    • Call the employee in and discuss the issues on why he/she is still not able to perform
    • Incapacity enquiry before dismissal
  • CHANGING A JOB DESCRIPTION
    • If there is a fundamental change to the job responsibilities over time, the employee can not refer back to the original job description of 10 years ago and say this is not in my job description. The operational requirements of the business have changed, as have your responsibilities. The employee also received a pay increase over time for these additional duties.
    • If the employee is doing these additional duties, then there is an implied acceptance of these duties
    • If the employee refuses to sign the new job description, then it is important to notify them that this is what their capacity and performance appraisal will be measured against
    • If they say: you have combined credit control with data capturing for example, and credit control is not my job, then you can state that the merger of these 2 positions is an operational requirement -you can fill it, or be retrenched
  • GRIEVANCES
    • It is not the prerogative of the employer to decide if the grievance is resolved or not, it is up to the employee that raised the concern to decide. If the employee is not happy with the resolution, they will continue along the grievance procedure until they are satisfied, even if it goes to a third party conciliator or mediator.
  • NO EMPLOYMENT CONTRACT?
    • If an employee was appointed without a written contract, it is acceptable to write a letter to the employee confirming his/her rights in light of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) with salary, leave, etc.
  • THRESHOLD
    • The current threshold is R172,000.00 per annum. If an employee earns more than this, he/she is excluded from sections 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 17(2) and 18(3) of the BCEA. Different rules will then apply. These include: Hours of work, Overtime, Compressed working hours, Averaging of hours of work, Meal intervals, Daily & weekly rest period, Night work and Public Holidays.
  • SICK LEAVE
    • The employee should phone the employer everyday if they are sick so the employer will know not to expect him/her at work. If an employee is booked off and the employer is informed as to how long the employee is booked off, it is not necessary to contact the employer every day. The employer should not be calling the employee everyday to try and find out when he/she will be back at work.
    • Medical check-ups, collecting medication, regular gynae check-ups or collecting medical test results is not regarded as sick leave as the employee is not incapacitated. The employer may at his/her discretion grant this as sick leave, but it is not an entitlement.
    • If a medical certificate says that the specific person was seen on the specific date, it does not mean sick leave should be granted. The sick note MUST say the employee was unfit to perform his/her duties.
  • ANNUAL LEAVE
    • Leave is taken at a time that is convenient to the EMPLOYER, or with mutual agreement. It is not at the convenience of the employee. The employee must take all outstanding leave within 6 months after the end of the leave cycle. You must allow the full 21 consecutive leave days after a 1 year working cycle, if the employee requests it – you are not allowed to insist that they only take 1 week batches for example.
    • If you provide extra leave over and above the 15 days as per the BCEA, these extra days are not governed by the BCEA. The 15 days that are governed by the BCEA cannot be paid out, except at termination of employment. It is therefore important not to allow accumulation, as you may have to pay out plenty at termination, at the current pay scale! You cannot forfeit 15 days annual leave. After 12 months you must allow employees to take their 15 days consecutively, if not taken during the year.

Should you wish to discuss any of these points or if you need advice regarding your employment contracts, job descriptions and company policies and procedures, please do not hesitate to contact us on 012 751 2867 or email us at info@proffessa.co.za.