SA Labour Dept changes compensation structures
These changes will be introduced through a Bill, said SA Labour minister Mildred Oliphant in her second Budget Vote. The lamented SA Compensation Fund administraion is “enhancing Integrated Claims Management and Financial Management systems to improve the turnaround time in processing of claims.”
Compensation benefits amounting to R3.2-billion would be paid by the end of 2011 -2012 financial year. A new CF organisational structure will be implemented in the new financial year, eventually decentralised to all SA provinces, starting with a fully decentralised service in two provinces in this financial year.
The Fund is aiming to increase revenue collection through web-based registration of employers, electronic submission of the Return of Earnings (ROE) and employer assessments. The 2012 CC deadline wass postponed to May 31, following uncertaintly during April 2012, without penalties to contributors.
Web-based submission of ROE’s would be implemented in the first quarter. Electronic submission of medical accounts and provision of pharmaceuticals is targeted for the second quarter or 2012.
Investments of the Fund are currently at R28-billion with reserves amounting to R15-billion. The Fund allocated 5% of its investment, or R1.40-billion, to alleviate unemployment through Socially Responsible Investments.
“Development of the policy has raised the need for amendments to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA),” said minister Oliphant in her budget vote speech.
SA Labour inspection and enforcement figures
During the past year, the SA DOL had completed:
139 150 workplace inspections
35 327 complaince notices issued
1023 prohibition notices served
70% compliance rate is “often fopund”
1018 inspectors employed.
Discussion has been initiated during the past year in NEDLAC on the possible ratification of ILO Conventions 81 and 129 on inspections in industry and commerce, as well as agriculture, respectively. SA would “consider ratification of these conventions to bring inspection activities within the framework of international good practice. “ Efforts continue to train and upgrade the inspectorate.
SA labour law amended
SA DOL will table the Labour Relations Amendment Bill 2012, and the Basic Conditions of Employment Bill 2012, this year.
“When enacted, these bills will change the way we regulate the labour market”, said SA Labour minister Mildred Oliphant in her Budget Vote.
Amendments to the LRA and BCEA would “enhance protection to cover those workers who work in temporary work, in part-time work and on fixed-term contracts. It has been estimated that the number of atypical employees has grown from 1.5-million to 3.89-million between 2000 and 2010.
“This means that approximately 28% of employed people in South Africa are in atypical employment. The extension of protection and prohibition of abusive practices experienced by these workers is therefore a very significant step.
Amendments to the Employment Equity Act and the new Employment Services Bill are currently being considered by NEDLAC and these should reach Parliament soon.
DoL achievements during the previous financial year, according to the minister, include:
• unqualified audit, the first in six years
• Turnaround strategy for Compensation Fund administration
• DOL Organisational Review
• ICT strategy
• Redefining inspection services professionalisation.
SA Labour job placlement services
Skills development functions were transferred to the Department of Higher Education and Training in the past year.
Up to the end of December 2011, DOL employment services registered 403 482 job seekers, most in thesse three provindes;
Gauteng 135 651
KwaZulu-Natal 76 261
Western Cape 71 571.
The DOL asessed and profiled 139 428 job seekers and a further 64 798 were referred to employers or placed in vacancies reported to the Department.
The DOL employment service increased the number of workplaces registering their vacancies on the ESSA data base system, and also registered 1053 new private employment agencies.
SA Department of Labour strategic priorities for 2012 -2013
The SA Department of Labour has been allocated R2.1-billion for the 2012 -2013 financial year. The spending focus over the medium term will be on protecting vulnerable workers, reintegrating work seekers into the labour market and ensuring decent work. “Labour officials would equipped, financially and technically,” said Minister Oliphant.
The mandate of the Labour Department includes “to regulate the labour market through policies and programmes developed in consultation with social partners, which are aimed at: improved economic efficiency and productivity; employment creation; sound labour relations; eliminating inequality and discrimination in the workplace; alleviating poverty in employment; enhancing occupational health and safety awareness and compliance in the workplace; as well as nurturing the culture of acceptance that worker rights are human rights. “
PHOTO: SA Labour minister, Mildred Oliphant.
• Editor comments: The terms and concepts of “health, safety, risk, awareness, governance, culture” occur only once in the SA DOL budget vote speech of May 2012, in the mandate definition, and nowhere else in the speech. SA Labour department policy, legislation and programmes seem to be preoccupied with issues of statutory insurance, employment, racial quotas, and labour relations, at the expense of OHS.
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