September 14, 2017
December 1, 2017

Garnishee Orders

What do I do as an employer if I receive a garnishee order for one of my employees, where the amount to be deducted exceeds the statutory maximum that can be deducted from an employee’s remuneration per month?

In today’s economic climate many employees get themselves into financial difficulties, which can result in them getting a garnishee order. As an employer, you are legally bound to implement the garnishee order, as it is a court order; and begin making the deductions from the employee’s remuneration as stipulated in the order.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) stipulates that an employer may not deduct more than 25% of an employee’s remuneration at any one time.

So what must an employer do if garnishee order requires an employer to deduct more than 25% of the employee’s remuneration each month?

Unless the garnishee order is challenged, by the employee, in court, and reversed, the employer is obliged to comply with the order.

It is therefore up to the employee to challenge the order in court.

Unpaid Suspension of Employees

Can an employer suspend an employee without pay?

The most commonly used form of suspension, is a suspension on full pay and benefits, pending the outcome of a discipline investigation or enquiry.

Suspension without pay is usually only implemented as a sanction as an alternative to dismissal after a disciplinary enquiry has been held, and the employee has been found guilty.

This is generally implemented as a last attempt to correct the behaviour of the employee, hence the reason it is used as an alternative to dismissal, or as a measure short of dismissal.

In County fair v CCMA & Others [1998] 6 BLLR (LC) and South African Breweries Ltd (Beer Division) v Woolfrey & Others [[1999] 5 BLLR (LC) it was held that suspension without pay is a permissible disciplinary sanction where appropriate. However, it is recommended that such a sanction is subject to the employee signing an agreement letter stating that he / she accepts suspension without pay as an alternative to dismissal. The agreement should also state that any similar transgressions in the future will result in dismissal.

Suspension without pay should therefore only be used as an alternative to dismissal.

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