A critical analysis of the new equal pay provisions relating to atypical employees in sections 198a-198d of the LRA: Important lessons from the United Kingdom
The Employment Equity Act 55 of 1998 (EEA) is the main piece of legislation which seeks to achieve equity in the workplace by redressing unfair discrimination. Unequal pay for equal work and work of equal value are specific forms of discrimination which are dealt with in the EEA. The EEA provisions dealing with pay discrimination applies to all employees in the workplace which includes atypical employees. An employee experiencing pay discrimination in the workplace would thus use the EEA to institute an equal pay claim. This, however, has changed since the introduction of sections 198A-198D of the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995 (LRA) which provides equal pay protection for atypical employees earning below the threshold of R205 433.30 and subject to certain other conditions. Sections 198A-198D of the LRA only deals with equal pay for the same or similar work. The sections do not deal with equal pay for work of equal value. This equal pay protection in the LRA is unique as the redress of unfair discrimination is not one of the purposes of the LRA. The purpose of this article is to analyse the equal pay provisions as set out in sections 198A-198D of the LRA in order to ascertain the ambit of the protection offered by the sections, the limitations thereof and the dispute resolution procedure which should be followed. A brief comparative study with the law regulating equal pay for atypical employees in the United Kingdom will be undertaken in order to learn lessons for the equal pay legal framework in the LRA. International labour law will also be referred to.
Keywords: Equal pay; Labour Relations Act; equal pay for atypical employees; atypical employment; sections 198A-198D of the Labour Relations Act; Agency Workers Regulations 2010; Fixed-term Employees (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2002; Part-time Workers (Prevention of Less Favourable Treatment) Regulations 2000; LRA; EEA.