Following the announcement last night [23 March 2020 – Attached Hereto] by President Ramaphosa as relates to the Lockdown it has become clear that the impact on businesses and, by extension, our clients, will be far reaching. It is necessary to find a balance between the economic interests of all the Citizens of South Africa and the Health and Safety of those same Citizens and to that end we support the decision by the President to take drastic steps to Flatten the Curve.
While we believe that the President’s decision and the steps which will be implemented are necessary, we also note that this raises a series of questions for business.
It is still too early to propose a comprehensive and watertight strategy, however based on the limited information currently available and without considering the unconfirmed rumours flying around, it is important that Business starts implementing the necessary strategies to comply with the Lockdown.
The Lockdown, which commences at midnight on Thursday the 26th of March 2020 and will continue until the 16th of April 2020 will prevent the majority of our clients from operating and while certain exemptions will exist, we are still awaiting clarity from the Presidency, the Department of Employment and Labour and the Department of Minerals. Urgent meetings are being conducted between the various stakeholders, including the Minerals Council, Business Unity South Africa, Organized Labour and the various Government Bodies and further information should become available in due course.
While we await the outcomes of these engagements, having considered the President’s speech, we believe that, at-present, the course of action applicable to the majority of Employers should be as follows:
- Take the necessary steps to shutdown your operations, secure your premises and ensure that computer systems are backed up or even moved off-site;
- Where, for example underground Mining occurs, prepare the necessary Care and Maintenance teams and stagger their shifts across the available teams;
- Communicate with your Employees the extent of your strategies and the effect of the Lockdown on them (Find Herewith a Draft Memo which you can customize and distribute to your Employees);
- Attempt, as far as practicable to cushion the blow to Employees by allowing them to use Annual Leave if available and reasonable practicable for the Employer to afford;
- Remain informed of the developments relating to Relief Funds and UIF Benefits which may be made available by Government and apply and/or assist Employees in applying;
- Allow Employees whose positions and functions allow it, to continue working from home, without leave and on full pay; and/or
- Where no other arrangements can be made, place Employees on extended unpaid leave for the duration of the Lockdown (Such Employees will be required to seek assistance through the UIF Programs once the Special Leave is granted).
We are currently awaiting clarity from the Presidency as relates to, among others, the Coal Mining and Private Security Sectors which, in our considered view, should be allowed to continue operations during this time in order to ensure that the lights stay on, however detailed planning around these sectors has not yet been published or communicated from Government.
We at HR City remain committed to assisting your clients in these uncertain times and all consultants will be available telephonically and electronically during this Lockdown. For ease of reference, I include herewith the Contact details of our team at present:
Eben van Deventer 082 412 2845 firstname.lastname@example.org
AJ van Niekerk 079 890 4411 email@example.com
Elri de Bruin 082 753 5695 firstname.lastname@example.org
Conrad Luus 072 624 3410 email@example.com
Please do not hesitate to contact us. We will continue to send updates on developments as they become known to us during this time.