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HR 101 – What to do When . . . You Want To Retrench Your Staff

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Please note that this pertains to South African Labour, The Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Best Practice requirements.

Did you know that there are certain instances when you actually don’t have to pay severance pay? How cool is that!

Here’s the deal – Mike is the owner of a retail store in a busy mall and George is one of his salespersons.

The sales in the store have been dropping steadily and Mike is forced to retrench some of his staff – George is one of these individuals.

Mike is very concerned about his staff and their responsibilities and goes out of his way to try and find them alternative employment and manages to secure a position of salesperson with one of his colleagues, for George. This position is a little different to straight retail though and it means that George will be on the road (although still locally) and he will have to work a little harder to “make” the sale. In a retail environment, a customer usually walks through the door with the intention of purchasing something. In this environment, George is given “leads” and he will have to close the sale.

George is not impressed and refuses to take the position, saying that his job is in a store and it is not his intention to go running around after other people to look for sales.

George is retrenched without a package and goes off to the CCMA. The CCMA find in favour of Mike due to the following.

Mike did get alternative employment for George and said employment was within George’s scope – it’s not like George was expected to go from being a salesperson to being a labourer.

The position that Mike secured for George was a positive one and one that George if he put his mind to it, could do very well in.

George refused to take the offer and the reasons that he gave for turning down the job offer were totally unreasonable.

So there you have it, if you are ever in a position where you have to retrench and you don’t really have the money to pay out huge retrenchment packages, then ensure that you find your employees reasonable alternative employment.