The global COVID-19 pandenmic has brought about unprecedented changes to the employment landscape and thrust us into a "new normal". In looking beyond COVID-19, this article seeks to give a cursory overview of what constitutes an employment relationship, to determine whether an employment contract may be terminated on the basis of operational requirements and, lastly, to examine whether employees who have been retrenched on the basis of operational requirements are entitled to severance packages in Botswana, Lesotho, Mozambique and Namibia.
The nationwide lockdown imposed across South Africa, due to the COVID-19 pandemic, has led many employers to consider the financial sustainability of their business. Employers who are not able to operate during this time are particularly affected.
According to the World Health Organisation (WHO), the coronavirus is a "family of viruses that cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases". The novel strain of the coronavirus (COVID-19) is a unique strain to the coronavirus family. While it is still unclear how COVID-19 originated, or how it was transmitted, what scientists know for sure is that the virus is resistant to antibiotics.
The National Lockdown imposed by government in terms of the Disaster Management Act has prompted considerable debate about its effects on the treatment and payment of employees during this period. The Regulations and Directives issued in terms of the Act have been silent on the issue, while statements by the Department of Employment & Labour, in particular, have served only to confuse things further.
Since the beginning of the COVID-19 lockdown, there have been far more Gazettes issued than during any other period in our democratic history. One of the pieces of legislation that has arrested the attention of all South Africans is the Disaster Management Act (57 of 2002) owing to the many revisions that have been issued to the Act's guidelines.