Skip Ribbon Commands
Skip to main content
Veggies

Question: May an employer use a fixed term contract as a substitute for probation?

Answer: No. It is important to distinguish between probation and a fixed term contract.

Brief explanation: Clause 8 of the Code of Good Practice: Dismissal (Schedule 8 of the Labour Relations Act) deals specifically with probation. It states that the purpose of the probation is to give the employer an opportunity to evaluate the employee’s performance before confirming the appointment. It then states: “Probation should not be used for purposes not contemplated by this Code to deprive employees of the status of permanent employment. For example, a practice of dismissing employees who complete their probation periods and replacing them with newly-hired employees, is not consistent with the purpose of probation and constitutes an unfair labour practice.” The Code also gives employers guidance on the procedures they should follow when dealing with probationers.

Fixed term contracts serve a different purpose. In the amendments to the Labour Relations Act that came into effect on 1 January 2015, a ‘fixed term contract’ is defined as “a contract of employment that terminates on –

  • (a) the occurrence of a specified event;
  • (b) the completion of a specified task or project; or
  • (c) a fixed date other than an employee’s normal or agreed retirement.”

The amendments were introduced mainly to provide additional protection for lower earning employees who are employed on a fixed term contract for longer than 3 months. However, the definition above is also a clear indication that a fixed term contract cannot be used as a substitute for probation.

Where it is found that an employer has circumvented the probationary procedures by using a fixed term contract, it would be regarded as an unfair dismissal.

Article provided by Jan Truter from Labourwise

www.labourwise.co.za is an on-line labour relations service aimed at assisting employers with the implementation of effective labour relations. They can be contacted via the website or info@labourwise.co.za.

 

 

The Power of Attorney is not forever, unlike diamondsThe Power of Attorney is not forever, unlike diamondshttp://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/articles/Pages/the-power-of-attorney-is-not-forever-unlike-diamonds.aspxhttp://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/PublishingImages/PowerOfAttorney_Banner.jpg, /businessblog/PublishingImages/PowerOfAttorney_Banner.jpg8/13/2018 9:24:10 AM06442aspxhttp://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/articles/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx2018-08-12T22:00:00ZThe use of powers of attorney (either notarised or not) is very common in personal affairs and business matters. Please exercise caution when you authorise another person to act on your behalf.
Work performance and sales targetsWork performance and sales targetshttp://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/articles/Pages/work-performance-and-sales-targets.aspxhttp://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/PublishingImages/WorkPerformance_ArticleBlogBanner.jpg, /businessblog/PublishingImages/WorkPerformance_ArticleBlogBanner.jpg9/7/2017 12:42:39 PM0124aspx2034http://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/articles/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx2017-09-06T22:00:00ZIt is not often that a dispute about dismissal for poor performance reaches the Labour Appeal Court. Dismissing an employee for poor work performance is more challenging than dismissing an employee for misconduct.

 Related Posts

 

 

How to gain more time to work on your businessHow to gain more time to work on your businesshttp://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/articles/Pages/how-to-gain-more-time-to-work-on-your-business.aspxhttp://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/PublishingImages/gain_time_banner.jpg, /businessblog/PublishingImages/gain_time_banner.jpg7/24/2018 6:51:53 AM039148aspx1131http://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/articles/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx2018-07-23T22:00:00ZWe live in a world of technological advancement and engineering progression. The unintended consequence is that business is becoming more complex and, because of the increased flow of information.
Consistency in disciplinary casesConsistency in disciplinary caseshttp://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/articles/Pages/consistency-in-disciplinary-cases.aspxhttp://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/PublishingImages/consistency_banner.jpg, /businessblog/PublishingImages/consistency_banner.jpg8/8/2018 9:06:12 AM050113aspx146http://www.sanlam.co.za/businessblog/articles/Pages/Forms/AllItems.aspxhtmlFalseaspx2018-08-06T22:00:00ZThe primary reason for requiring employers to act consistently when instituting disciplinary action or meting out disciplinary sanctions is to ensure that they do not act arbitrarily.

 Most Read

Sanlam Life Insurance is a licensed financial service provider.
Copyright © Sanlam