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Dear NEASA employer

The latest spate of load shedding has caused havoc for employers and the issue is seemingly going to be prevalent for the foreseeable future.

One of the major issues affecting employers during load shedding is how to pay and deal with employees who cannot perform their duties during these periods.

One of the tools available to employers is the implementation of short time. Short time is not an automatic right attributed to employers but there are a number of ways in which short time may be implemented depending on the circumstances of the employer:

• A number of bargaining council collective agreements provide for the reduction of working time due to unforeseen circumstances, which will include load shedding. Employers who resort under these collective agreements are at liberty to utilise these provisions in order to implement short time as a result of load shedding.

• In the event that an employer is not covered by a bargaining council collective agreement or such an agreement does not provide for short time, employers should investigate whether the individual contracts of employment they entered into with employees provide for the implementation of short time. Should the contract of employment make provision for short time, employers may invoke such provisions, providing that it is not in contravention of a bargaining council collective agreement. Should a council agreement not permit implementation of short time, such employer will have to apply for exemption from the collective agreement.

Should neither of these options be available, employers need to consult and enter into an agreement with their employees for the introduction of short time or other alternatives e.g. flexible shift patterns, working-in-time arrangements, etc.

Employers should keep in mind that both employers and employees are affected by load shedding and are therefore encouraged to engage with their employees in order to find a workable solution for all parties.

Kind Regards
Jaco Swart
National Collective Bargaining Coordinator

Privileged and challenged to be South African.
We are all in this together.