In the recent case of Parexel International (Pty) Ltd v Chakane and Others  11 BLLR 1245 (LAC), the Labour Appeal Court had to decide whether an employee, who had been absent from work for a prolonged period of time, could be dismissed for incapacity on the basis of ill health.
The Court held that there are material considerations when considering the incapacity of an employee, which include:
- whether an employee is prepared and able to perform their duties and when they may be in a position to do so; and
- whether they have been absent for an unreasonably long period of time and whether alternatives to dismissal exist.
In this regard and in answer to whether an employee may be dismissed for incapacity on the basis of ill health, it was consequently held that it is not required for an employer to keep a position available indefinitely for an employee; and further that an employer cannot be expected to suffer the prolonged absence of an employee due to ill health.