By Rod Harper and Jayson Kent, Cowan-Harper Attorneys – Clients are advised that employees are approaching their employers in order to request that they be released from work for the protest march planned for this Friday.
It is possible that there could be more than one march in the broader Johannesburg area. We are presently only aware of the planned march from the Westgate station to Beyers Naude Square in central Johannesburg.
Some employees have advised that for safety reasons that they do not wish to report for work this Friday but will not necessarily participate in the march.
On a provisional basis we advise as follows:-
- Employers can permit employees to participate either by requiring them to apply for annual leave or permitting them to take unpaid leave or by simply granting leave of absence for the period of the march or for the day, where appropriate;
- Such permission must be subject to operational requirements which may differ from employer to employer;
- A meeting should be arranged with employees in order to discuss the requests and proposed arrangements;
- Where employees do not wish to report for work for safety reasons, they should apply for annual leave. In that regard it should be noted that the march must take place in a specified area and may be of limited duration and accordingly safety should be assessed in that context.
The circumstances may change over the next few days which may warrant a different approach. In particular permission to march must be granted in terms of the Gatherings Act. If permission is not granted, the march would be unlawful and employers may wish to reconsider their approach on the issue.
Where you are dealing with unique circumstances please feel free to contact us in order to discuss the implications.
We may issue another communication before this Friday depending upon changing circumstances.
For more information please visit Cowan-Harper Attorneys at www.cowanharper.co.za