Severe consequences for employers who force employees to work on voting day

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As final preparations are underway before polling stations open on Wednesday morning, employers are warned that there will be severe consequences should they prevent their workers from voting.

Voting day is a public holiday. The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says it is receiving reports from workers that some employers are insisting they come to work.

Labour Law expert Osborne Molatudi explains that without prior agreement with workers, employers face exorbitant fines if they force people to work on voting day.

“No employer may force an employee to work on a public holiday without that employee’s agreement. Any employer who would wish to have his employees at work would have done so with the agreement with those employees or with their trade unions. The consequences will be severe. I mean the employees can report those employers to the Department of Labour and they will have to then dispatch the inspectors to go and check if indeed they breached the basic conditions of employment and there are consequent fines.”

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