Nation-wide Lockdown and the implications for employers

South African Engineers’ and Founders’ Association

24 March 2020

As you are now aware, President Ramaphosa has announced the implementation of a nation-wide, 21-day lockdown from midnight on Thursday, 26 March 2020.  All businesses will be closed, with certain exceptions, a list of which will be released on due course by the Presidency.  It is important to note that during his address, the President stipulated that companies whose operations required continuous processes, such as furnaces and underground mine operations will be required to make arrangements for care and maintenance to avoid damage.  Clarity on this will be provided as soon as it becomes available.

Members are advised that during this lockdown period, the principle of "no work, no pay" will apply.  Furthermore, no shifts will accumulate to employees towards the calculation of Leave Pay and Leave Enhancement Pay.  Although the President acknowledged that many “large companies” who had already closed were paying their employees and that other companies, particularly large ones, would be called upon to consider doing the same, it is generally accepted that not all companies will be in a position to pay employees whilst they are at home.  In this regard, a proposal, currently being considered, is that employees of businesses unable to afford to pay employees during this time will receive wage payments through the Temporary Employee Relief Scheme (TERS).  

Therefore, employers are encouraged to try to assist their employees wherever possible. Consideration should be given to the following possibilities:

  • Allowing employees to take annual leave, whether it be already accumulated or in advance;
  • Allowing employees to access sick leave without producing a sick note (although it is strongly recommended that if this option is considered, it is made clear that the waiving of the obligation to produce a valid medical certificate will cease upon the lifting of the lockdown);
  • Paying for the period in full or in part; or
  • Allowing the employees to work the time in upon their return to work.

Please note that the above advice is subject to change upon clarification of certain issues and further announcements being made by Government.  Please note further that rapid dissemination of information is critical at this time and we therefore urge you to like our Facebook Page and to join our WhatApp Group to stay up-to-date in real time.  Email This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. for further information.