Hiring workers on an ad hoc or temporary basis is sometimes necessary for businesses. Some jobs or tasks that crop up just need to be done over a short time only. Not by someone on a permanent basis.

But hiring temps can land you in hot water if certain steps are not taken.

Take a look at the dangers of not doing it the correct way…

Case study: CCMA case no GATW4849-09

The company employed a person on an ad hoc basis as a general worker and assistant. It wasn’t a permanent position and no contract was signed. After a week or two, the worker was moved to become a packer. His job was to assist with the cleaning of dirty bags and to load trucks for export.

After another two weeks or so, the company then told him that his work was now finished and that he needn’t come back to work again.

The worker referred the matter to the CCMA as an unfair dismissal.

The company told the CCMA that they did not dismiss the worker, but that his tasks had “been completed”.

But, the worker explained, the job was not over. And no other temporary workers were told to go – only himself.

CCMA finding

The CCMA found that the dismissal of this worker was procedurally and substantively (the reason) unfair. They said that the company did not produce any evidence that the work or the project that the temp worker had been working on, was finished.

Also that the company did not attempt to dispute the story that the worker had told the CCMA.

The CCMA  awarded the worker two month’s salary – only because he had been at the company for a month. Otherwise it would likely have been more.

How can this scenario be avoided?

There are 2 very important steps when hiring a temporary worker:

  1. Explain – What job involves and duration:

Explain what the job entails, what they need to do and be very clear on when (even approximately) you expect the job to be finished. Tell the worker that when the job is finished, the work will be over and that’s all they will be employed for.

Beware, create no expectation in the mind of the worker that the job could be extended.

2. Signed contract:

Of course you should always put this into a contract, even a short one. The law requires you to do this.

Always get the worker to sign a contract with a start and an end date.

And if by any chance, there is more work that needs to be done when the contract expires and you need to extend the worker’s contract, then draw up a new contract with fresh dates.

IMPORTANT: Get the worker to sign it BEFORE the start date of the new contract.

Source: Kim Welsford | Absolute HR


011 679 4373 | 082 656 4957 | etienne@cofesa.co.za

The information and material published on this website is provided for general purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. We make every effort to ensure that the content is updated regularly and to offer the most current and accurate information. Please contact one of our consultants on any specific labour problem or matter. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage, whether direct or consequential, which may arise from reliance on the information contained in these pages.