I often come across people who are currently employed but do not have an employment

contract. Many Employers are quite happy to have staff working for them without signing an

employment contract. There seems to be some level of fear combined with mistrust that has

resulted in the absence of Employment Contracts in some workplaces.

Some of the reasons I have come across are based on myths and fears from both sides.

The Employer often feels that if the terms and conditions are not in writing he is not bound

by them and can do as he pleases.

The Employee on the other hand often refuses to sign a contract of employment due to

some fear or mistrust that he or she will be hoodwinked into signing away his/her rights.

Both parties are placed at risk if there is no Employment contract. Just as we sign a contract

to purchase a house, a car or even when we get married, it is just as important to sign an

Employment contract if you are employed. This contract is to protect the rights of both

parties. The Law requires every employer (Basic Conditions of Employment Act – Section

29) to provide the employee with a written contract of employment.

Failure to do so could result in a hefty fine for the business. (Schedule 2 – BCEA)


Benefits of signing a contract for the Employee (worker)

 It regulates the terms and conditions of employment

 It states if there is a probationary period and the duration of this period.

 It stipulates what the employee will be paid.

 It states Hours of work, leave entitlement and also when leave may be taken.

 It states your position and what you are required to do.

 It specifies what the employee is entitled to receive in terms of company policy,

company benefits, and labour legislation.

Benefits of signing a contract for the Employer (Business owner)

 It clearly states salary and position so no confusion exists.

 If there is a commission structure, this will be explained in the contract.

 It states standard of performance expected by inclusion of a proper job description.

 It also regulates the behaviour of the employee in the work place.

 It specifies your disciplinary code. The dos and don’ts at work and the possible action

to be taken.

 It states when leave can be taken, a retail organisation may state clearly that no

leave may be taken during peak seasons.

 Notice periods are stipulated causing fewer disruptions.

If there is no contract all the above can create conflict and ultimately lead to an unhappy

workforce and a frustrated Employer. Essentially it is in the interests of both the worker and

the business owner to ensure that an Employment contract is signed at the commencement

of employment. If this was not done at the commencement of employment it is never too

late. A contract can be signed at any time using the original date of employment.

In the current challenging economic climate where layoffs and restructuring has become

common the role of the Employment Contract is vital. The duality of the benefits for both the

worker and the business owner cannot be overstressed.

Employers can call us at Labour Specialists Employer Solutions for advice and assistance

on drafting your Employment contracts or to assess your existing contracts. If you are an

Employee and are concerned about signing a contract feel free to contact us for advice.

May 2016 be filled with prosperity for all business owners and their workforce, Inshaa Allah.

Fatima Begum Sardiwalla – Labour Specialists Employer Solutions – 0827860035

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