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Load shedding and obligations to pay

Publish date: 10 April 2019
Issue Number: 281
Diary: Legalbrief Workplace
Category: General

It is no secret that the intensified load shedding has had a devastating economic effect on many companies, write Aadil Patel, national practice head and director in employment practice and Dylan Bouchier, candidate attorney at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr. Without electricity, many businesses cannot function, and in those instances, employees are unable to work. They write that employers might be under the impression that in instances where employees are unable to work, the ‘no work, no pay’ principle applies. However, they say, when hours are lost as a result of power outages, the fact that employees are unable to work is due to no fault of the employer, nor the employee. Therefore, the no work, no pay principle would not apply. Since an employment contract is reciprocal by nature, Patel and Bouchier write that a possible solution to minimise the effects of load shedding would be to negotiate with the employees or unions an agreement which adjusts the hours of work to avoid facing hours of non-activity. However, they say it is crucial to note that to make the changes legally binding, the employees need to agree to all proposals. Load shedding has introduced countless challenges which threaten the financial stability of many companies across the country. However, it is crucial that employers do not risk breaching labour legislation to avoid financial losses. Rather, they say, there is a duty on the employer to plan accordingly to protect the company and the livelihood of the employee.

Full press release