Skip to main content

Current legislation states that temporary employees work under a dual relationship between a Temporary Employment Service (TES) provider and their Client, for the entirety of their contract. However, there has been an uproar in the media in recent months, which questions the value of TES providers in this relationship.

TES providers represent both their client’s best interests, while ensuring that employees receive the rights and benefits they are entitled to while under contracted employment. Under a dual employment relationship, employees are given the protection of employment benefits under the TES provider and – after a three-month employment period – attain extra protection by being considered under the employment of both the TES provider and their client.

Yet various unions have pushed back against TES providers, citing that so called “labour brokers” do not have the best interests of the workers at heart. So what is all the fuss about, and are TES providers truly the enemy – or could they be the solution?

What is a TES provider?

The term ‘labour broker’ is being bandied about in news attached to the new ruling conflict, with startling regularity lately. Startling, because ‘labour brokering’ is a concept which actually no longer exists in legal terms, according to Joanette Nagel, Labour Specialist at Hunts Attorneys.

Says Nagel, “Labour brokering is a term associated with ‘bakkie brigades’, those agencies who were once comfortable picking up ‘piece workers’ and exploiting them for profit, by handing them over to organisations who require labour forces with little to no consideration for labour laws. Today’s TES providers are reputable organisations that offer temporary employment services with the backing of the law and strict policies to ensure that the rights and wages of a temporary employees are in line with permanently employed staff.”

Sean Momberg, MD at Workforce Staffing Solutions, agrees, explaining that temporary employment has traditionally been associated with instability for employees, lacking security and benefits associated with permanent employment.

“This is not the case, however,” he says. “A dual relationship where the employee is employed by both the TES and the Client after three months means that the employee is actually afforded more protection. If, for example, the Client falls into circumstances in which they can no longer honour the contract, such as if they go insolvent or a project is cancelled, the TES provider is still bound by contract to the employee and their rights to compensation, among others, are protected.”

The TES role in employment

According to the Global Employment Trends for Youth 2017 study, conducted by the International Labour Organisation, the rapidly changing labour landscape has made the expectation of traditional or permanent employment less realistic than ever before.

“There is a global trend towards temporary employment, which is supported by new generational thinking of flexibility in career choices as well as employment environments. As such, the demand for TES providers to play a more active role in the labour market is higher than we have ever known,” affirms Momberg.

According to Momberg, organisations are also set to benefit from this trend, stating the businesses are able to outsource all non-core related labour requirements. “Businesses can focus on their core business and not have to concern themselves with the labour function, or the overheads associated with human resources. TES providers are able to take on the responsibility of employment, remuneration, legal disputes, strike mitigation, employee wellness, interactions with unions, and many other HR concerns which can be extremely resource intensive.”

However, according to Nagel, while temporary employment is a rising trend, it is imperative that the TES provider is reputable, certified, compliant with all laws and regulations, and of good standing.

Says Nagel, “You need to partner with a TES that is registered and compliant with the Labour Relations Act (LRA), Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) as well as relevant bargaining councils. It is also critical that the TES has the necessary insurance and off-balance sheet financial protection in place, which serves a dual role: covering all parties, while proving the TES’s credibility with insurers. Furthermore, the TES needs to provide proof of regular auditing, letter of good standing and legal compliance. Transparency is key, for both organisations seeking to benefit from TES providers and for workers looking for employment”

TES ensures economic continuation

Momberg says that in a world where employment is continually shifting, TES providers ensure economic continuation, not only in underlining and supporting the relationship between employer and employee, but also in continuing to feed new skills into the market. This is something TES providers, that offer training and up-skilling, do.

“Ramaphosa said in his recent YES initiative launch, that even those with further education often struggle to bridge the gap between learning and earning. TES providers help with bridging this gap, offering skills development that guarantees jobs,” says Momberg.

“TES providers are here to stay and offer the best of both worlds to organisations and employment seekers, alike. Dual relationships continue to protect workers, underpinning and promoting their rights, while helping businesses to cover any skills and employment gap within their organisations without having to invest in huge HR departments and legal representation to do so,” concludes Momberg.

Leave a Reply