It is a myth that an employer may not amend the terms and conditions of employment. We have many queries from our clients asking us whether medical aid, car allowances, travel allowances, etc. can be changed.

These changes can take place if the employer can show that there is a good reason for the change and if the employer can also show that there has been a properly constituted discussion with regard to these changes. In essence the employers conduct in effecting the change must show that the employers discretion is fairly exercised. If the discretion is exercised unfairly then the employee has the unfair labour practice right and may refer the matter to the Commission for Conciliation Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA), if however the employer has consulted and has explained why the change is necessary then the employee’s only right is to bargain for the increase and if unhappy may withhold his/her labour only. There is no right to go to the CCMA over the provision of benefits.

In order to understand this properly employers must understand that the benefit can be tampered with and indeed lowered for good reason and if proper discussion had ensued beforehand.

Contact Bernard Reisner 021 423 3959 or e-mail bernard@capelabour.co.za