Solidarteit Wêreld
2020 – Uitgawe 3 Jy en die Reg
Retrenchment: Know your rights
Deur Michelle | 12 Julie 2020

Foto krediet:

By Barend Smit

Since the beginning of the year, and even more so after the implementation of the national lockdown because of the Covid-19 pandemic, several companies have commenced with the large-scale retrenchment of their employees. It is important that employees should understand how retrenchment works and know their rights in this regard.

Retrenchment occurs when employers must dismiss employees because of operational requirements. They are not dismissed due to any wrongdoing on their part and retrenchment is therefore different from dismissal due to theft or poor work performance.

Retrenchment for operational reasons is usually the result of economic reasons or the restructuring of a company.

If you are affected by retrenchment, you must ensure that your employer meets the requirements of section 189 of the Labour Relations Act.

This means that if your employer wants to dismiss you for operational reasons, you must receive proper notice thereof and be invited to consult with the employer regarding the following aspects:

  1. The reasons for the proposed retrenchment
  2. The efforts made by the employer to avoid retrenchment as far as possible
  3. The method used by the employer to determine which employees will be retrenched
  4. The package to be paid to affected employees

During these consultations there must be opportunity for negotiations and consensus on the four points mentioned above.

Once the consultation procedure is completed, retrenched employees must be paid at least the following:

  1. One week’s salary for every completed year of service
  2. Any outstanding leave money
  3. The monetary value equal to the notice period in their employment contract
  4. Their salary until the last day of service
  5. Any overtime payment owed to the employees by the employer

It is also important that your employer should provide you with a completed UI-19 form, confirming that you are retrenched, to enable you to claim from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

It is very important to note that if you enter into a so-called voluntary severance agreement with your employer, it will not be regarded as retrenchment but as resignation. The implication of this is that you will not be entitled to retrenchment benefits such as being able to claim against the UIF or making use of your policies.

Under certain circumstances, you may be assisted by union officials during the retrenchment process, to ensure that the process proceeds according to the proper rules.

If retrenchment is unfair or not according to procedure, a dispute may be referred to the CCMA or an appropriate bargaining council.

If you are affected by retrenchment, phone the Solidarity Call Centre on 0861 25 24 23.


Deur Cilleste van Dyk Ons sal self. Hierdie drie woorde kan baie arrogant klink sonder die regte konteks. Solidariteit sê: Ons sal self, nie omdat ons dink dat ons dinge alleen of deur ons eie krag sal regkry nie, maar omdat dat daar geen ander opsie is vir ’n voorspoedige toekoms nie. Daarom sê ons […]

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