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Cosatu suggests reduction of work hours as part of labour reform proposals

Currently, the country has a statutory limitation of 45 hours of work per week, which Cosatu said must be reduced to 40 to align with international standards.

Picture: Pixabay.com

JOHANNESBURG - Social partners at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) are considering a set of new labour reform proposals, including a reduction of the standard hours of work to 40 hours per week.

The suggestions, which were tabled by labour federation Cosatu, were mostly necessitated by shifts in the labour market as a result of the COVID-19 pandemic.

Cosatu said that the pandemic had highlighted gaps in the country’s labour legislation that needed to be addressed.

Currently, the country has a statutory limitation of 45 hours of work per week, which Cosatu said must be reduced to 40 to align with international standards.

Cosatu’s labour market policy coordinator, Lebogang Mulaisi: "As the labour market adapts, the labour legislation needs to adapt together with the labour market so that we have a situation where there is a balance between workers and the employers. There were always gaps in the labour law, yes the pandemic has exacerbated those gaps but I think now is the opportune time for us to bring the labour laws [in line] with the changes that are currently happening."

Furthermore, the federation has proposed that the minimum severance pay, which has not been changed since 1996, should be increased above the current one-week remuneration for each year of service.

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