To operate efficiently and within the bounds of the law, businesses need to have several agreements in place – 3 Contracts Your Business Needs. Understanding the nature and scope of required contracts can easily become a daunting prospect to most business owners. In this blog, we will explore those contracts you should consider getting in place and updating frequently to keep with the changing legal landscape and your own business requirements.
Standardized Employment Contract
A sound, standardized employment contract is a critical document to any business, as it regulates your most important resource, your staff. Sadly, the majority of small businesses neglect these contracts, opting for verbal agreements (or, in extreme cases, no contract at all!).
What is an Employment Contract?
An employment contract is a written agreement between an employer (the business), and an employee (the worker), which regulates the obligations and rights of both parties. Employment contracts can deal with diverse issues, but usually include provisions for remuneration, working hours, leave policy, and workplace discipline. Some employment contracts can even contain provisions relating to restraint of trade and confidentiality.
Why do I need an Employment Contract?
An employment contract is a powerful tool to formalize and regulate the rights and obligations of the employer and employee. An employment contract is also a very helpful mechanism for parties to ensure their expectations of the working relationship are aligned.
What happens if I do not have an Employment Contract?
The working relationship will be regulated by standardized workplace legislation which was promulgated by Parliament, which at the time of writing this blog are: The Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and the Labour Relations Act.
Standard Terms and Conditions of Service / Sale
Businesses exist within an ecosystem containing many role-players. Arguably the most important of such role-players is the customer or client. Most businesses have several different clients or customers at any one time. A standardized document containing the Terms and Conditions of the business ensures that all customers or clients are treated uniformly and consistently.
What are Terms and Conditions?
In brief, Terms and Conditions refer to the obligations and rights of the business and its customers or clients, as agreed to between these parties. Terms and Conditions can be agreed to in several ways, including in a written document (the most sensible), notices by the business setting out their terms and conditions in clearly visible places (not too bad), or verbally (BEWARE!).
Why do I need Terms and Conditions?
To regulate the obligations and rights of the business and its clients or customers and to ensure consistency.
What happens if I do not have Terms and Conditions?
If a dispute arises, the tribunal hearing the dispute (usually a Court) will try to ascertain what the underlying “agreement” between the parties was. To do this, the Court will look at the conduct of the parties and any verbal representations made between them. This can be extremely risky, time-consuming, and expensive.
POPI Manual and PAIA Manual
The Protection of Personal Information Act imposes several obligations on businesses when it comes to the processing and storage of personal information. The Promotion of Access to Information Act, on the other hand, prescribes the nature and scope of information that the business needs to make available to requesters, and the way requests must be made to the business.
What is a POPI Manual / PAIA Manual?
A POPI manual is a document identifying the personal information processed by the business, as well as the way such information is processed. A PAIA Manual is a document outlining the types of information which can be sought from the business, as well as the process to follow to request such information. Usually the POPI Manual and PAIA Manual form part of the same document for ease of reference.
Why do I need a POPI Manual / PAIA Manual?
Legislation requires that businesses have a POPI Manual and PAIA Manual in place.
What happens if I do not have a POPI / PAIA Manual?
You may land in hot water with the Information Regulator.
The documents listed above are not the only documents that businesses need but are the basics that each business should have in place at the very least. At Vermeulen Attorneys, we partner with businesses to help them understand and implement working agreements that are fair, sound, and easy to understand. For more information please get in touch with us.