17 February 2020 by and Employment Alert

What’s an Oscar without employment rights?

On 11 December 2019 the Department of Employment and Labour published a notice in the Government Gazette informing the public of its intention to deem individuals working in the Film and Television industry as employees. Such workers are currently classified as independent contractors. If passed, the effect would be to vest these individuals with various rights in terms of certain employment-related legislation.

The proposal would see the likes of actors, crew members and so on enjoy, amongst others, the following employee rights:

  • Under Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act 30 of 1993 (COIDA), which deals with the compensation claims by employees who are injured or become diagnosed with an occupational disease, individuals in the Film and Television industry will be entitled apply to the Compensation Fund if injured or fall ill due to work.
  • Under the National Minimum Wage Act 9 of 2018, persons in the Film and Television industry will be entitled to be paid a minimum wage.
  • Under certain sections of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 (BCEA), persons in the Film and Television industry will be entitled to certain minimum terms and conditions of employment, including:
    • annual leave;
    • sick leave;
    • proof of incapacity;
    • maternity leave; and
    • severance pay.
  • Under the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA), persons in the Film and Television industry who work on a project with a limited or defined duration – such as a television series – for more than 24 months will be entitled to be paid one week’s remuneration for each completed year of the contract, on expiry of that contract.

Despite the above, it should be noted that the Department’s proposal does not include the full scope of protections afforded under employment legislation. 

The Minister of Employment and Labour provided stakeholders until the 9 February 2020 to submit representations.

The spotlight now shifts from the actors to the Minister as we wait to receive further updates. CDH will publish an updated alert once further developments take place.

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