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Pretoria – The Department of Labour has reiterated that private employment agencies are not permitted to charge work seekers any fees for services rendered.

This is according to clause 15 of the Employment Service Act 2014, which is still to be promulgated.

This emerged as the department and the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) held a joint labour law amendment road show in Kimberley today.

“The provision also prevents practices by which employers or private employment agencies may seek to circumvent this prohibition or make deductions from employees’ remuneration,” said Martin Ratshivhanda, the Director of Public Employment Services (PES).

The new Employment Services Act seeks to respond to

the country's mandate of job creation, the registration of job opportunities, regulation of the employment of foreign nationals and the establishment of schemes geared towards job creation. 

Addressing over 200 delegates from organised labour, employer organisations, the general public and academic sector, Ian Macun, the Department of Labour’s Director of Collective Bargaining said the aim of the labour law amendment is to protect vulnerable workers and work seekers. 

“The amendments are in response to the abuse of vulnerable workers and work seekers in the labour market. Workers not getting social benefits was becoming a problem,” he said. 

The key labour laws in question that were recently reviewed, and are now in force, include the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act (BCEA), Labour Relations Amendment Act, Employment Equity Amendment Act and Employment Services Act (no 4 of 2014) assented and gazetted on 7 April 2014.  

The presentations during the national road shows focused on aspects such as broad changes on the protection of employees earning up to the BCEA threshold of R205 433.30; regulation of temporary employment; unionisation in vulnerable sectors; improving the functioning of labour market institutions such as the CCMA, bargaining and statutory councils and addressing current problems in industrial disputes and dispute resolution. 

This also includes enforcement and enhancing compliance and disputes concerning discrimination and issues of equal pay for work of equal value.

Macun said the changes in the Employment Equity legislation means it will be illegal for employers to discriminate against workers. He said legislation requires of employers to pay equally for work of equal value.   

The next leg of the road show will be heading to the Free State’s President Hotel in Bloemfontein (18 February), Sandton Convention Centre in Johannesburg (20 February), ICC in Durban (23 February) and Limpopo’s Sun Meropa Casino (25 February). 

The road shows will end in Gauteng on 6 March 2015 at the Council for Scientific and Industrial Research in Pretoria.  

All road shows will be held from 9am – 1pm. – SAnews.gov.za