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Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (Act No. 75 of 1997)


Schedule One : Procedures for Progressive Reduction of Maximum Working Hours


1.        Goal


This Schedule records the procedures to be adopted to reduce the working hours of employees to the goal of a 40 hour working week and an eight hour working day—

a) through collective bargaining and the publication of sectoral determinations;
b) having due regard to the impact of a reduction of working hours on existing employment and opportunities for employment creation, economic efficiency and the health, safety and welfare of employees.


2.        Collective bargaining


When during negotiations on terms and conditions of employment, a party to the negotiations introduces the reduction of maximum working hours as a subject for negotiation, the parties must negotiate on that issue.


3.        Role of employment Conditions Commission


The Commission may investigate the possibility of reducing working hours in a particular sector and area and make recommendations to the Minister thereon.


4.        Investigation by Department of Labour


(1) The Department of Labour must, after consultation with the Commission, conduct an investigation as to how the reduction of weekly working hours to a level of 40 hours per week may be achieved.


(2) The investigation must be completed and the report submitted to the Minister not later than 18 months after the Act has come into operation.


5. Reports


(1) The Department of Labour must, after consultation with the Commission—
(a) monitor and review progress made in reducing working hours;
(b) prepare and publish a report for the Minister on the progress made in the reduction of working hours.


(2) The Department must publish reports every two years.


(3) The reports must be tabled at NEDLAC and in Parliament by the Minister.


(4) The Minister may prescribe the returns to be submitted by employers, trade unions and councils on any matter concerning this Schedule.