n Law, Democracy & Development - The Basic Conditions of Employment Act amendments : more questions than answers

Volume 6, Issue 1
  • ISSN : 1028-1053
  • E-ISSN: 2077-4907



The imperative for minimum standards legislation, probably more so than any of the other pieces of labour legislation, is to get the right balance between worker protection and the requirements of employers. In South Africa, with an unemployment rate that is estimated to be between 41.5 per cent and 45 per cent, this imperative assumes very large proportions. The architects of the new Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) responded to the challenge with the concept of "regulated flexibility", which provided extended and expanded protection for workers but with provision for variation by ministerial or sectoral determination, bargaining council agreement, collective agreement, and individual agreement (as well as specific provisions for temporal flexibility in light of the prospect of progressive lowering of the maximum weekly hours of work). Certain key protections (or "core" rights) could, however, not be varied.

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