100 Introduction to ….. programme

This programme consists of a series of short courses aimed at assisting the owners of small businesses and those employees who are without access to professional representation in a disciplinary hearing or arbitration over a labour dispute.

Each short course in this programme has an accompanying article which can be purchased. This means that customers can elect to do the course, or purchase the article- or both. The articles are available here.

The introductory courses in this programme are also aimed at persons who may wish to find out if they could study law. The LLA 101 An introduction to legal skills- how to think like a lawyercourse is similar to many of the introduction to law courses offered at university.  This course explains the fundamental skills needed in the legal profession, such as how to read legislation and how to interpret words used in legislation. The intention is to show and explain legal thinking- how to unravel the logic and apply the correct reasoning to a particular incident or set of facts.

LLA 105 How to refer a dispute to the CCMA is a FREE course for anyone who has been dismissed and wants to refer the dispute to the CCMA. The course explains in a step-by-step process what to do and how to do it.

Labour Relations is usually taught as part of a human resource programme, and usually as an add on. This is unfortunate as just about every human resource intervention requires an applied form of labour law and labour relations knowledge in order to be successful. The short course LLA 110 An introduction to labour relations in South Africagives students an understanding of the labour relations system in South Africa and how it fits within the broader social and economic context.

Many employees are not members of union and do not have access to proper representation when they are charged with misconduct and are subjected to a disciplinary hearing. The limitation on who can represent another employee means that legal or other assistance is not permitted. The short course LLA 120 A guide for employees in a disciplinary hearingwill assist such persons to understand what and how to conduct a defence and act in their best interests. It will also assist any fellow employee who is asked to represent another employee in a hearing to do so effectively.

The owners of small business in South Africa are severely prejudiced when it comes to labour relations matters. This is because the cost of dismissing an errant employee involves taking time off from managing their businesses to attend to a dispute at the CCMA or bargaining council. One of the major problems faced by small business owners is putting rules and standards for their employees in place which reflect their business needs. The course LLA 125 An introduction to workplace rulesexplains how to do this and the importance of this when it comes to discipline and dismissal of employees.

Another course which will assist the owners of small businesses is LLA 130 An introduction to chairing a disciplinary hearing.As the title suggests this course provides a simple yet complete guideline to managing a disciplinary hearing in such a way that it is fair and is unlikely to be overturned by the CCMA or bargaining council.

The idea that one can resolve a labour dispute and that there is a process which will assist in that aim is regarded with suspicion by many in our highly adversarial society. LLA 151 An introduction to conciliation will assist any person- whether employer or employee to understand the process, what to do, what not to do and how to gain the best settlement available from the dispute.

There has been a history of bad advice being given to business when it comes to the terms and conditions of employment of their employees. The advice consisted in magically turning employees into independent contractors, or employing people on fixed term contracts- all aimed at avoiding the provisions of the Labour Relations Act with regard to dismissal of employees. What is often not explained is the degree of flexibility which is available within the employment legislation that exists. Drafting contracts which are appropriate, fair and legally sound is what the course LLA 181 An introduction to terms and conditions of employment explains.

Retrenchment has unfortunately become a common occurrence in the economic environment in South Africa. One of the many misconceptions which arise in this situation is the question of severance pay. The course LLA 190 When must an employee be paid severance pay will assist to set aside the myths that are said to apply when an employee is retrenched.


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