Archive for the ‘Articles’ Category

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.

 

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September 23, 2011 @ 12:42 pm
posted by Deon

Fin24: Tax on NHI not expected in short term: A tax to fund the government’s national health insurance (NHI) system will not be introduced in the short term, deputy director general public finance in the National Treasury Andrew Donaldson was reported as saying this week. … http://t.co/Voy9kR1J

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So here is something that should have been done a long time ago! A car designed and manufactured specifically for a wheelchair user. A whole lot better than a modified car. A pity that the person who wrote the article still uses the term “handicapped”… http://feedproxy.google.com/~r/GizmagEmergingTechnologyMagazine/~3/SPNSugMe6rM/

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September 12, 2011 @ 3:35 pm
posted by Deon

Following the changes proposed to the Companies Act, the regulations regarding the final audit threshold are now in effect.

So if your practice is registered as an Incorporated Company, this will affect you.? Before these changes, it was mandatory to have your books of accounts audited on an annual basis, costing up to R20 000 per annum to do.

 

The new regulation allows for a determination based on a public-interest point system of your business.? If you score above a certain amount, you have to be audited. This is worked out as follows:

  • A company scores 1 point for every employee
  • A company scores 1 point for every R1 million in turnover per annum
  • A company scores 1 point for every R1 million in third-party debt
  • A company scores 1 point for every shareholder of the business

If you employ your own accountant, who does your books internally, a score above 100 points means you need to be audited. Companies that outsource their accounting function only have to undergo a compulsory annual audit if they score above 350 public-interest points.

Now we as medical practitioners would seldomly score over 100 points, and can not be silent shareholders in our practices we play an active role in the management of our practices. The regulation states that in this case only annual financial statements are needed.

It is however my opinion that choosing to voluntarily audit your books is still a strong option. My reasons being:

  • An audit of one’s books, and the relevant tax advice that goes with this may well off-set the actual cost of the audit, through good business structuring and practice
  • The benefit of an external control mechanism to the internal processes, management and professional attitude of all staff should not be under estimated
  • If you are wanting to sell your practice in the near future, a set of audited results hold a lot of benefit
  • Financiers may request audited results

I would love to hear some of your thoughts on this. If you would like to discuss the issue further, and its impact on your business, feel free to make contact through email or a comment below:

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August 17, 2011 @ 8:31 am
posted by Deon
image One of the really strong points of our business offering is the value-add to your practice on the financial management side. PROFFESSA Health Services recently assumed the financial management and reporting role for Tarryn Rusteberg Physiotherapy. This is a dynamic practice in Sunninghill Johannesburg, offering a combined multi-disciplinary service to the public. Their services include physiotherapy and biokinetics, in a very modern and vibrant setting. If you want to see how impressive a bit of interior designing and professional input on layout and colour scheme looks, it is worth a visit.So if you want to take control of your body, and get proactive, feel free to drop in, or call the practice to arrange an appointment. Their website and contact details can be found at www.trphysio.co.za
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July 12, 2011 @ 4:54 pm
posted by Deon
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mnt_ptherapy: Virtual-Reality-Based Rehab For Parkinson’s Disease Patients http://mnt.to/3Ybg #physicaltherapy

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As a provider of services to the medical industry, and a supplier of equipment and consumables to patients and therapists, it is imperative that we align ourselves with the Consumer Protection Act (CPA) regarding warranties, repairs, refunds and replacements. I have summarised some of the key points in this regard.

 

  1. The CPA implies a 6 month warranty on the safety and quality of goods
  2. Over and above this, there is a 3 month warranty on any repaired goods
  3. There is no warranty on altered goods
  4. Suppliers may be able to exclude certain defects from the warranty through expressly disclosing these specific defects prior to purchase


So here are some of the scenarios that may play themselves out:

Condition: Customer enters into a transaction following direct marketing efforts by supplier / service provider
Period in which items can be returned by the consumer: Consumer may without any reason or penalty cancel the agreement within 5 business days from delivery of goods or conclusion of agreement, whichever is later. Goods must then be returned within 10 business days
Delivery charge and risk is to theConsumer
Outcome: Full refund within 15 business days of return

Condition: Consumer has not had an opportunity to examine the goods or to rejected the delivery
Period in which items can be returned by the consumer: 10 business days if goods are not of a type and quality as expected or unsuitable for the purpose intended
Delivery charge and risk is to theSupplier
Outcome: Full refund within 15 business days of return

Condition: Some goods cannot be returned under law by reason of public health or otherwise. If the items had been altered or restored, the rights of return will not apply
Period in which items can be returned by the consumer: Consumer may return the goods within 6 months if it fails to meet safety and good quality requirements
Delivery charge and risk is to theSupplier
Outcome: Repair, replace or full refund, at the discretion of the consumer

For the full Consumer Protection Act, click here

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April 6, 2011 @ 11:15 am
posted by Deon

I recently came across an article published by the Mail & Guardian Online, which speaks to the global phenomenon of taking business functions out of the head office and hosting them with third parties, in the public cloud. The article then leads on to the sensitive issue of outsourcing finance and accounting functions, indicating that the global trend is expanding to this sector too.

While most small to medium-sized enterprises (SME’s) will happily outsource their web hosting or call-centre requirements, they are far more circumspect about trusting their financials to a third party, says the Mail & Guardian. This is largely due to the sensitive nature of the information. Ironically though, according to a World Wide Worx survey, 87% of SME’s use online banking services!

Payroll information is another function which can be outsourced. What organisations need to keep in mind however is that they are obliged to protect their employees’ information and data too. It is therefor imperative that companies ensure that their service provider understands the various Acts and has ensured that its solution is compliant, says Dave Philp, operations director at CRS Technologies.

So the challenges currently faced by SME’s in relation to onsite financial, payroll and tax management include:

  • Keeping up with software upgrades
  • Keeping up with legislative requirements
  • Additional administrative staff employed
  • Compliance with the electronic system requirements of the South African Revenue Service (Sars)

The benefits of taking a Business Process Outsourcing (BPO) approach include:

  • Business continuity
  • Business security
  • Unlocking of Business efficiencies
  • Service level agreements ensuring good standard and quality of service
  • Legislative compliance

 

Source: Mail & Guardian Online
For the full Mail & Guardian article, visit http://www.mg.co.za/article/2010-03-04-accounting-in-the-cloud

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