Decemebr 2020 - Lethu Mlotswa is an upstanding individual who strives to do his best. Vast knowledge of cases and processes. He is meticulous. Well versed in Labour Court procedures, laws and practices.
25 November 2020
Emerging from Telework
At the start of 2020, the work-from-home initiative received a huge push from covid-19. Thanks to dynamic technologies, it is no longer necessary to be present in the company office to be a productive team member. Management has embraced that certain work can be undertaken effectively from a remote location.
On a global scale, the latest controversy in remote work has seen some employers considering adjusting salaries to be aligned with the cost of labour in a particular location, rolled out to their employees who want to work remotely. This complexity has arisen for employees deciding to relocate from expensive cities like New York to more affordable parts of the county, which has prompted employers to consider paying them less.
In Germany, Deutsche Bank is proposing that people choosing to work from home rather than in an office should be taxed 5% of their salary, with the tax used to subsidise elementary workers who cannot do their work remotely.
Here in South Africa, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) requires an employer to provide an employee with the necessary tools which can include the Internet, data and stationery. If an employer reimburses certain costs like data, they may require proof of usage for business purposes. The employer is not required to provide staff with a subsidy for refreshments, cleaning materials or telephones. However, expenses such as rental or bond interest may be claimed from the South African Revenue Service (SARS). While SARS does make provision for home expenses, the employee must spend more than 50% of their working hours working from home and must have done so for a minimum period of six months of the tax year. The home office should be an exclusive workspace fitted with the relevant tools, not the dining room or lounge.
In this volatile work environment, the boundaries around working hours and overtime pay are open to abuse by employees and employers alike. Work from home policies should be specific in terms of flexibility of working hours, and the parameters around flexibility should be clearly defined.
Rewarding employees for projects completed rather than hours worked could prove a more reliable way to measure performance rather than hours worked. The extent of success that the remote work model brings can only be truly compared and verified if employees are fully present in the workplace once more.
Written by Lucille Schedler from Khusela Employment Solutions (Pty) Ltd
If you’d like further information, please contact Lucille on 082 885 4169