Tag archives: COVID-19

Balancing employee religious rights and the need for protective equipment

The COVID-19 pandemic has brought to the fore the rights of an employer to insist on the wearing of personal protective equipment (PPE) despite religious objections. For COVID-19 protection, such equipment may include masks, gloves, goggles, face shields, and other forms of protective gear. Ordinarily, the failure to adhere to an employers’ reasonable PPE requirements … Continue reading

Money laundering risks in a global pandemic

The Financial Intelligence Centre (FIC) published a notice in March 2020 indicating that there will be no relaxation of obligations under the Financial Intelligence Centre Act 2001 (FICA) during the nationwide lockdown. A robust money-laundering policy ought to form an integral part of any company’s compliance program. Business’s compliance functions must operate effectively, even if … Continue reading

International Financing Institutions’ loans available to government and private companies as relief from COVID-19

In his address on 21 April 2020, President Cyril Ramaphosa announced that government will be approaching international finance institutions such as the International Monetary Fund, the World Bank, the BRICS New Development Bank and the African Development Bank to help fund the R500 billion COVID-19 economic relief package that will be provided by government. International … Continue reading

e-Commerce directions: Key measures for retailers, customers and courier and delivery service personnel

From 14 May 2020, the sale of all goods on e-Commerce platforms, with the exception of alcohol and tobacco products, are allowed. However, in terms of the new Alert Level 4 e-Commerce directions, retailers, delivery services and customers are required to observe strict protocols at all stages of the transaction. Below are the key measures … Continue reading

Chief Inspector of Mining ordered to publish health and safety guidelines to manage and mitigate against COVID-19 under Alert Level 4

The Labour Court’s looming deadline of 18 May 2020, compels government to issue detailed guidelines on health and safety and requires that all employers prepare and implement a Code of Practice to mitigate the effect of COVID-19 on mine employees returning to work. Under Alert level 4, various mining operations are allowed to operate at … Continue reading

CIPC has changed its approach to business rescue application filings during the lockdown

Voluntary business rescue applications filed with CIPC during 24 March to 30 April 2020 will be processed by CIPC to reflect the dates on which they were filed. These applications do not have to be resubmitted.  Similarly, the appointment of business rescue practitioners that were filed with CIPC during 24 March to 30 April 2020 … Continue reading

Annual returns process updated to include the completion of a compliance checklist

The CIPC has granted an extension for the filing of annual returns (due to the lockdown), but the process now includes the completion of a compliance checklist, to prove compliance with the Companies Act. Annual returns All companies (including external companies) and close corporations are required to file their annual returns with the Companies and … Continue reading

Dirty money and the rise of digital payments

Exchanging bank notes and coins are increasingly seen as risky business, as noted by Thomson Reuters in an article on the rise of digital money transactions. The COVID-19 pandemic may speed up the global move towards digital-only payments. Apart from the more widespread use of payment apps, electronic funds transfers and cryptocurrencies, the idea of … Continue reading

The opening of the deeds office, or not

The Regulations to the Disaster Management Act published on 29 April 2020, include the 11 Deeds offices in South Africa as an essential service under Alert Level 4. However, deeds offices may need some time to implement workplace safety measures before they are able to formally open again, and therefore the backlog in deeds registrations … Continue reading

Economic relief measures for members of pension funds

People unable to work due to the pandemic may be looking to access their pension credits in this time of financial hardship. The position in South Africa remains that a member cannot access their pension benefits while they are still in service. Several other countries have however included, as part of their economic relief packages, … Continue reading

Risk assessment to be conducted by employers before resuming operations

The Department of Employment and Labour (DOL) issued the COVID-19 directive on Health and Safety in the Workplace on 28 April 2020, stipulating measures that must be taken by employers to protect the health and safety of workers and members of the public entering their workplace or exposed to their working activities. Employers must do … Continue reading

Alert Level 4 Regulations: 5 factors for employers to consider

On 29 April 2020, new Regulations were published in terms of the Disaster Management Act which replaced previous lockdown regulations and set out the restrictions that will be imposed during Alert Level 4. These Regulations permit more categories of business to resume operations, subject to the establishment of, and compliance with, strict health protocols and … Continue reading

The challenges faced by employers in trying to retrench during the lockdown

The current pandemic and the implementation of the lockdown has forced companies to implement various cost cutting measures to keep afloat. Those companies considering the need to retrench employees must first make every effort to find alternatives to retrenchment. Alternatives to retrenchment include: Companies can make use of support measures implemented by government such as … Continue reading

South Africa’s March 2020 ratings downgrades could be a catalyst for structural reforms

On 27 March 2020, the last of the three major ratings agencies announced its downgrade of South Africa’s sovereign credit rating to ‘Ba1’. This downgrade rendered South Africa’s sovereign credit rating as non-investment grade. On 3 April 2020, two of the three major ratings agencies downgraded the major South African banks’ credit ratings to ‘BB’ … Continue reading

Five cost cutting measures to sustain your business and safeguard your employees

The declaration of a state of national disaster due to COVID-19 and the resulting nationwide lockdown has left employers and employees in a precarious situation. The lockdown has had a devastating impact on employment throughout the country, with many employees feeling the financial pinch of not having worked throughout the lockdown. What is clear is … Continue reading

COVID-19: Is a government announcement law?

Since the declaration of a national state of disaster in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, South Africans have been presented almost daily with announcements, as well as regulations and directions issued in terms of the Disaster Management Act (DMA). Regulations and directions are formal law, but a regulator does not have the legal authority to … Continue reading

What you need to know when claiming under COIDA for occupationally acquired COVID-19

On 23 April 2020, the President of South Africa announced that the lockdown would be relaxed, with some industries being permitted to return to work, subject to extreme precautions being taken to limit community transmission and outbreaks of the infection. Specified business will be permitted to operate under strict parameters, including: preparing the workspace for … Continue reading

Essential service businesses, have you received an updated certificate from CIPC?

Companies which are registered to perform essential services during the lockdown should have by now received a new certificate from the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC) for the extended lockdown period. The old certificates are no longer valid and will have to be disposed of. The new certificates should be automatically emailed to companies … Continue reading

10 things to know about business rescue

Business rescue offers a very useful alternative to the liquidation or winding-up of a company. During and after the pandemic, many companies may have to consider whether business rescue is an appropriate response to the economic impact that COVID-19 may have had on their business. Here are 10 things to know when considering business rescue: … Continue reading

SARB’s responses to COVID-19 and its recommendation to South African banks on the payment of dividends and executive bonuses in 2020

The SARB’s Prudential Authority (PA) issued a guidance note advising that it did not expect banks to distribute dividends on ordinary shares or pay cash bonuses to senior executives in 2020. This guidance is not binding on banks but is recommended. In terms of section 46(2) of the Companies Act 2008 resolutions authorising a distribution … Continue reading

HPCSA relaxes scope of practice rule, and provides more COVID-19 guidelines

On 17 April 2020, the Health Professions Council of South Africa provided its latest COVID-19 guidelines to registered practitioners. The guidelines were circulated to registered practitioners via e-mail – as at the date of publication of this article, the guidelines are yet to be published on the HPCSA’s website www.hpcsa.co.za The HPCSA acknowledges that the … Continue reading
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