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

Codes of Good Practice

Code of Good Practice for Employment and Conditions of work for Expanded Public Works Programmes

15. Discipline, dismissal and termination



15.1) Every EPWP must have a disciplinary code and a grievance procedure. The purpose of these procedures is to—
a) ensure that employers exercise discipline in a fair and consistent manner;
b) protect workers from arbitrary action; and
c) provide a mechanism for managing grievances and complaints.


15.2) The disciplinary code and grievance procedures apply to all persons employed in the EPWP.


15.3) Employers should make use ofthe Code ofGood Practice: Dismissal (Schedule 8 to the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995) as a guideline when exercising their powers of discipline and dismissal.


15.4) An employer may only dismiss a worker if—
a) there is a good reason for the dismissal; and
b) the employer has followed a fair procedure.


15.5) The reason for a dismissal or termination may relate to—
a) the worker's misconduct (e.g. late coming, drunkenness);
b) the worker's capacity (i.e. the worker does not have the skills or ability to perform a job despite receiving training); and
c) the worker's unexplained failure to attend required training programmes.


15.6) A fair procedure means that the employer should—
a) investigate the charge;
b) notify the worker of any allegations against the worker in a form and language that the worker can understand; and
c) give the worker an opportunity to respond to the allegations. A fellow worker may assist the worker, if the worker chooses.


15.7) There is no requirement that the employer hold a formal inquiry. However, the employer may decide to give a worker, charged with a serious offence, a formal hearing at which the worker can test the evidence on which the charge is based.


15.8) An employer must exercise discipline in a consistent and clear manner.


15.9) A worker may only be disciplined for contravening a workplace rule or standard that the worker was aware of or should reasonably have been aware of. Therefore, it is important that an employer informs workers of workplace rules and standards. A worker will be assumed to know that conduct such as late-coming, leaving early, drunkenness, fighting or disobeying instructions are disciplinary offences.


15.10) An employer should keep a written record of any disciplinary action taken.