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Freddie Lombard
Freddie Lombard, Attorney
Category: South Africa Law
Satisfied Customers: 2402
Experience:  Practicing attorney and conveyancer with 16 years post article experience.
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I employ a gardener who started a year ago next month. He

Customer Question

I employ a gardener who started a year ago next month. He has not signed a contract but works 5 days a week. He gets paid public holidays etc. We are living on just two of acres of land so need the help. I have two other casual staff. I offered him a huge income to secure his employ but found that he like taking off on a Monday and sometimes a Tuesday. His attitude is terrible and after speaking to him about an incident, he threatened to leave immediately and take it up with the authorities.
Our income is no longer the same and I would like to offer him less as he is also using family responsibility by bringing a certificate for taking his son to the clinic so that he does not use a day's pay.
my questions are
1. how much notice period is required.
2. how do I calculate his wages if I did decide to let him go.
3. If he did stay, I would like to offer him R50 00 less, is this allowed....His
present wages is R300,00 per week.
4. Since he has not signed a contract yet, can I give him casual contract
paying him as a contractor. no discussion with regard to this has taken place
only that I am working on a contract.
Submitted: 2 months ago.
Category: South Africa Law
Expert:  Freddie Lombard replied 2 months ago.

Hi there

Thank you for your question. I will try to assist you in answering it today but please feel free to ask as many follow up questions as you like until you are 100% satisfied.

1. I am not sure what notice period you are referring to. If you want to dismiss him due to operational requirements (retrenchment), you have to start with a consultation process informing him in writing of your change in finances and mention that you are contemplating retrenchment unless an alternative can be found. You invite him to make recommendations to you and then you discuss it with him after you have considered it. You can also in your letter suggest alternative such as paying him less but then you will have to reduce the work hours also to be fair. You can then (if no other suitable option can be found) suggest to him that his salary is to be reduced (and also his work hours)in order for you to be able to continue his employment. If he refuses this or you cannot reach any agreement, then you can retrench him. You have to pay one week's salary for each completed year of service as well as any other amounts due, such as accrued leave.

2. As I have described above;

3. You should make sure that his salary is in accordance with the prescribed minimum wages for your area. If you want to suggest a reduced salary for reasons of affordability, you should also reduce his working hours;

4. No you cannot. A verbal agreement is also valid and binding and he is not a contractor according to what you have told me. He is an employee.

I hope this answered your question.

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Expert:  Freddie Lombard replied 1 month ago.

Did you receive my post?