The 10 rules you must know when using labour brokers…

Labour brokers carry with them a host of advantages. For example, workers are usually cheaper than an ordinary employee of yours; you can get specialised skills in your workplace that you never had before; and you can have greater flexibility in terms of fluctuating staff requirements.

But before you go ahead and use a labour broker, it’s worth understanding exactly how the relationship between the two of you works. Because by doing so, you will not only be able to use them effectively, but you’ll also ensure legal compliance, and avoid any unnecessary liability on your part.

So to help you, I have 10 key rules you must know when using labour brokers.

RULE #1:
When a labour broker employs a worker who provides a temporary service for you, he is the labour broker’s employee and not yours.

RULE #2:
The temporary service can only be for a period of 3 months, unless you can provide solid reasons for the period being longer.

RULE #3:
Your labour broker mustn’t unfairly dismiss an employee or subject them to unfair labour practices.

IMPORTANT: You must report any misconduct the employee commits and ask the labour broker to deal with it.

RULE #4:
You must ensure that the labour broker doesn’t pay below the minimum wage. He must also give the workers minimum conditions of employment.

CAUTION: If he doesn’t, you’ll both be liable!

RULE #5:
You must sign a contract with the labour broker before using him. Include a clause in the contract stating that the labour broker will carry out his legal duties and that you are indemnified against any harm if he doesn’t.

IMPORTANT: Doing this will ensure you’re protected from the very beginning.

RULE #6:
Never tell your labour broker to do anything that will amount to unfair discrimination. If you do, you can be held liable.

RULE #7:
If the labour broker provides services for you for longer than 3 months, then the worker will be considered an employee of yours – unless you can justify why he’s not your employee.

RULE #8:
If the labour broker’s employee works for you for longer than 3 months, and you decide to end his employment, this will be seen as a termination of employment which, in essence, constitutes a dismissal.

RULE #9:
If a labour broker’s employee works for you for less than 3 months, for example as a substitute for one of your temporarily absent employees, then she’s performing a temporary service for you, and the labour broker will be the employer in this situation, not you.

NOTE: In the above-mentioned situation, whereby a temporary service is provided, the contract must clearly provide for a definite, and limited, period of service. This will prevent temporary workers from working for clients for indefinite and extended periods of time – which presents the risk of them becoming considered employees of yours.

RULE #10:
The work that labour brokers’ employees provide is regarded as a ‘temporary service’. And this is according to collective bargaining agreements which are made in sectoral determinations, bargaining councils or notices from the Minister of Labour.

IMPORTANT NOTE: If there is any contradiction between the three, then the collective agreements will take precedence.