Offering Compliant Temporary Employment Services: How and Why?

The Temporary Employment Services (TES) structure involves three: the client, the TES company and the employee. In this type of employment relationship, the TES company, also known as labour brokers, recruits employees to make them available to work for their client. According to the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995, the TES company is considered the employer of the temporary employee even though the individual performs work for and is instructed by the client.

Before the implementation of further labour regulations in 2012 and 2014, there were employers in South Africa offering little protection from unfair labour practices such as low wages or unfair dismissals. The Labour Relations Amendment Act and Employment Services Act both provide protection for employees, including those in the TES industry. To comply with these laws in the labour market, labour brokers must recognise their responsibilities as employers by following the regulatory channels and adhering to good labour practice.

For the past 26 years, the Temporary Employment Services Division (TESD) has been providing TES companies with a stakeholder forum to regulate this specialised industry, help member’s serve the needs of their clients and to protect the rights of TES candidates in a legally compliant environment. The division increases awareness for and supports its members to be compliant. It is essential that TES providers comply with all current requirements. Good practice involves ensuring there is no missing documentation such as work permits and checking that the job application is for the relevant skills on this issued permit for temporary workers who are foreigners in South Africa.

South Africa’s hit a new record high unemployment rate in Q4 2021, with loss of employment in this period specifically concentrated in manufacturing, which lost 85,000 jobs, and construction which shed 25,000 jobs. TES companies operating according to a uniform and high standard can support the current labour market, especially in these industries, while South Africa’s economy recovers from pandemic setbacks. Manufacturing and construction clients offering project-based and shift work can benefit from TES. Some projects may temporarily require a higher volume of workers or a specialised skill. It could be a time for TES companies to “shine!” These opportunities would be squandered with non-compliant practice which may yield fast profit but kills future growth.

Compliancy boosts labour broker reputation both at industry and individual levels. For the provider, this can open a larger client base as compliant practices build trust and help them to become well-known in a specific industry as well branching out into related industries too. When implemented correctly, compliance can become a competitive advantage. Creating a “compliance culture,” from the top down can influence a TES company’s long-term success instead of being seen as a “fly-by-night” operation.