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Labour Relations Act, 1995 (Act No. 66 of 1995)

Labour Market and Human Resource Development for Job Creation Social Plan

7. Services Offered by the Department of Labour



1) When a large scale retrenchment is unavoidable, the retrenching enterprise may approach the Department of Labour's provincial offices for assistance. The provision of various services will aim to assist in easing the process of retrenchment. This assistance will include offering information and delivering services to retrenched workers and employers to promote re-absorption of retrenched workers into the labour market. To maximise the potential benefit of the services the parties are encouraged to jointly approach the Department of Labour.


2) The services which will be provided by the Department of Labour are divided into two separate categories, namely:


3) Standard generic services offered, as set out in 7.4, across the board to employers, groups and individuals without charge.
4) Additional services offered, as set out in 7.5, by agreement only and which will probably require payment.


5) Delivery of Services:


6) When requested by an enterprise facing retrenchments of 500 workers or 10% of the workforce, whichever is greater, the Department of Labour will:
a) Set up a Retrenchment Response Team (RRT) competent in employment services, human resource development and the unemployment insurance fund (UIF). Where necessary services linked to Labour Relations and Occupational Health and Safety will also be included. The RRT will liaise with the enterprise at the request of the workers and employers. The Department of Labour, with both workers' representatives and employers, will form a committee to determine:
i) The type of standard and additional services to be provided to the retrenchees.
ii) The financial resources needed to cover additional services where agreed upon and the extent of resource allocation from each partner.
iii) The time and people needed to offer these services.
iv) The technical resources needed to deliver an effective service.
v) Mechanisms on how to inform retrenchees on the purpose of the Job Advice Centre (see below).
b) A Job Advice Centre (JAC) will be opened on or close to the premises of the enterprise. It is the responsibility of the employers of the enterprise and/or worker representative to find a suitable venue for the JAC as well as for any group meetings which may be agreed, if the enterprise's own premises are not available. Depending on the number of retrenchees and any negotiated agreement between workers, employers and the Department of Labour, the JAC will offer the selected choice of services preferably 5-10 working days before retrenchees leave the service of the enterprise. Standard as well as additional services will be offered during this time period provided it is practical.


7) Where there is a large scale retrenchment which affects fewer than 500 workers, either party may approach the Department of Labour's provincial office or Labour Centre for standard services outlined in 7.4 below. These services will be provided at the Department of Labour's offices. Additional services may be provided on agreement between the parties and on condition that resources are available.


8) Standard services to be offered


9) A set of information packs in preferred official languages will be made available to workers who are facing retrenchment and to managers planning retrenchments. The information packs will consist of comprehensive information and support measures available to retrenchees on such issues as UIF benefits, financial management, training and job seeking skills.


10) The Department of Labour will be responsible for the registration of workseekers.


11) Where available, information would be disseminated on the labour market, local economic development possibilities (in collaboration with Department of Constitutional Development) and on skills required in the area or in the workers' home area to assist workers in identifying other employment opportunities.


12) Additional services to be offered as agreed in point 7.3.2 above


13) In addition, the Department of Labour will be able to offer further services on the basis of specific agreements between the Department, employers and the workers' representatives at the enterprise.


14) Funding of additional services will have to be agreed to between the parties. These services may require contracting professional consultants. In which case a reasonable notice period may be necessary. The additional services may include:
a) Group and individual counselling to assist workers in dealing with the emotional impact and adjust to the new conditions.
b) Skills assessment and certification of prior learning to facilitate new employment through awarding of formal qualifications where appropriate.
c) Assessment of potential and development of a career plan in order to help workers to identify their options and assist them in the choices they have to make between further skills training, small, micro and medium enterprise (SMME) training and/or finding new employment.
d) Training and retraining of workers, in line with the Skills Development Strategy, to facilitate the channelling of retrenched workers into new employment.
e) Placement service.