These are a few new changes in the law in South Africa which may affect you in the HR environment. CONTRIBUTOR Jenny Reid, Director – iFacts, South Africa
Now that elections are over in South Africa and everyone settles in to normality again, there are some laws that we believe will shortly be passed and these affect the HR environment and we need to be aware of them.
The first one that affects the employee screening environment considerably is the National Qualifications Framework Amendment Bill which, if passed, prevents people from misrepresenting qualifications on their CVs and in job applications. It will allow SAQA (South African Qualifications Authority) to establish and maintain registers of misrepresented and fraudulent qualifications. It will also allow a “name and shame” process and there could be harsh consequences for those who lie about their qualifications.
We found that 5% of qualifications verified were fraudulent.
AARTO DEMERIT SYSTEM
For many years South Africans have been threatened with a “points” system on their drivers’ licenses. While this is very effective in other parts of the world the corruption levels in our traffic departments could make this challenging.
The greatest issues drivers need to be aware of are:
> Failing to pay traffic fines can lead to a block on obtaining driving and vehicle licenses and an administrative fee – in addition to other penalties;
> Where documents previously had to be delivered by registered mail through the post office, in terms of the amendment, authorities will now also be able to serve documents electronically and can send reminders via WhatsApp and SMS;
> A new demerit system will be introduced. Depending on the severity of the offence, 1-6 points are allocated for offences. If an infringer has more than 12 points, it will result in the disqualification of the driving licence and three suspensions result in its cancellation;
For many years employers have been concerned about this and how it will affect drivers of company vehicles. Currently employers can verify the validity of a driver’s license and public driving permit but this could add to the administration requirements of the HR department.
We found that 6% of drivers licenses were invalid and 42% of public driving permits were invalid.
CHANGES TO THE CREDIT STATUS OF INDIVIDUALS
Over time the access to credit checks on candidates has changed. Many years ago people could merely access credit details of any individual and this did disadvantage individuals looking for work. An amnesty was given some time ago and then credit checks could also only be done with the permission of the individual and if the position they were applying for was in the financial arena.
Now it is proposed that individuals can once again have debt extinguished and be given a clean record. For employers this proposes a risk as there would be less means of establishing if the individual has financial challenges and this can impact on the risk of a business.
The bill will allow certain individuals to have their debt suspended if their financial position does not improve.
THIS UPDATE PROVIDES SUMMARY INFORMATION AND COMMENT ON THE SUBJECT AREAS COVERED. EMPLOYMENT LAW IS SUBJECT TO CONSTANT CHANGE EITHER BY STATUTE OR BY INTERPRETATION BY THE COURTS. WHILE EVERY CARE HAS BEEN TAKEN IN COMPILING THIS INFORMATION, WE CANNOT BE HELD RESPONSIBLE FOR ANY ERRORS OR OMISSIONS. SPECIALIST LEGAL ADVICE MUST BE TAKEN ON ANY LEGAL ISSUES THAT MAY ARISE BEFORE EMBARKING UPON ANY FORMAL COURSE OF ACTION.