Glossary – Human Resources

A | B | C | D | E | F | G | H | I | J | K | L | M | N | O | P | Q | R | S | T | U | V | W | X | Y | Z

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Bargaining Council – Organisations which facilitate the negotiation process between unified employees (typically trade unions) and employers on matters such as working conditions and wages. A bargaining council must be registered with the Department of Labour and comprise one or more registered trade unions and one or more registered employer organisations. The aim is to provide a forum for collective bargaining by which settlement on matters of joint interest can be reached through negotiation. The agreed conditions are then applied to all companies and employees within the relevant sector.

Business Mission( ‘mission statement’) – it is a written declaration of an organisation’s core function, intent, ethos and business direction. It may vary in length from one short sentence to several lengthy paragraphs, but should be as simple and concise as possible in order to be clearly understood by all employees, customers and members of the public. For example, the international chemical giant, Dow, has the following simple mission statement: ‘To constantly improve what is essential to human progress by mastering science and technology’.

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D

Employment Contract – Description of the relationship between an employer and employee which arises out of a contact to perform work-related services. In South Africa this can exist whether the contract is in writing or not, as contract law principles will apply, irrespective. A formal Employment Contract will typically address such issues as the type of employment (full time, part time, etc), job description, salary, working conditions, place of employment, leave entitlement, company rules and disciplinary procedures.

Employment Equity – In South Africa, employers are regulated by the Employment Equity Act which seeks, by legal means, to eliminate unfair discrimination in the workplace as a result of apartheid, and to achieve equitable representation of designated groups. These ‘designated groups’ may be subject to change, but currently comprise Blacks, Coloureds, Indians, people with disabilities and women of all races.

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Outsourcing – The practice of taking certain tasks and processes, which could typically be performed by employees, and contracting them to a third party which is external to the organisation. Restrictive labour laws or trade union demands are sometimes cited as reasons for the growth of outsourcing. So too is technology, which allows individuals or sub-contractors to provide real-time services while based off-site – often in another country or on a different continent. The outsourcing of call centres is one such example

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Payroll – The administration associated with the financial record of employees’ salaries, wages, bonuses, company deductions, tax deductions, etc. In South Africa, as in most other countries, it is a legal requirement that employers maintain detailed records of employee payments and also undertake certain collection activities (such as Pay As You Earn or PAYE) on behalf of the state.

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Skills Development Levy – Most South African employers are required to pay a percentage (currently 1%) of their workers’ pay to the Sector Education and Training Authorities (SETAs) and the Skills Development Fund in order to pay for ongoing training. Provided that training is given to their employees, companies may claim back a portion of this money.

Succession Planning – A strategic planning process carried out within an organisation to identify, train and nurture employees, managers and executives with the abilities and/or potential to fill more senior roles within the business. Succession Planning is particularly important at senior level, where illness, death or the sudden departure of a key person can leave the organisation without direction and lacking critical skills.

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Time Management – The process of maintaining proper control over the amount of time spent on activities and tasks, whether in the workplace or an individual’s private life. Typically a successful Time Management system will involve analysing key tasks, setting priorities, allocating specific times to specific jobs, delegating, organising, and scheduling activities in a logical manner. Time Management is particularly important in organisations where meeting deadlines is critical.

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