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Home Archive Miscellaneous IR Audits benefit employers and employees alike
Saturday, 18 November 2017
IR Audits benefit employers and employees alike

With the ever-evolving growth in labour legislation, including widespread amendments to labour legislation in the past eighteen months, the obligations on employers to ensure compliance with legislation becomes more difficult and burdensome. IR audits also help identify outdated policies, practices and procedures and enable organisations to keep abreast of contemporary labour relations developments and trends.

Statutory compliance with labour legislation is vital, no matter how much such compliance may, as it often does, frustrate employers. This ever-expanding list of employer obligations promotes the need for employers to conduct frequent audits which focus on compliance with labour legislation so as not only to avoid statutory penalties and fines, but also to minimise the potential that non-compliance has to spawn labour conflict.

My own experience with clients is that IR audits are conducted on an annual or bi-annual basis. Furthermore, such IR audits are invariably best conducted by external professional IR consultants so as to confer greater objectivity and credibility on the process and outcomes.

IR audits are typically conducted by way of quantitative and qualitative audit processes. Put differently, individual questionnaires are constructed and analysed, company policies, practices and procedures are examined, and interviews are conducted with individual employees at random, with focus groups completing the qualitative phase of the audit.

In light of the fact that approximately 80% of all labour disputes are dismissal related, it is vital to incorporate all aspects pertaining to workplace discipline and dismissal into an audit, with performance management similarly receiving attention. It is for example of value to determine the correlation between disciplinary cases and dismissals during agiven period; this assists in determining whether the disciplinary procedure is primarily used for corrective or dismissal purposes.

Many aspects of the BCEA also require scrutiny as certain documentation must be issued to employees and retained by employers for a period of time after the employee has left the employ of the employer; examples being the issuing of written particulars of employment to all employees on employment and the retention of same on termination of employment.

Ordinarily, a comprehensive IR audit can be completed within 2 days, with the results thereof with recommendations being submitted subsequent thereto. IR audits provide employers with an opportunity to identify statutory shortcomings and dysfunctional IR practices before they are uncovered by labour inspectors or other external third parties.

The recent amendments to the labour legislation are further justification for an IR audit to be undertaken to ensure compliance with statutory provisions and alignment with best practice.

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First published in The Star Workplace on 12 August 2015