McCarthy Attorneys Inc

A Fixed Term Employment Contract has a specific time period, with dates known to the employee. This contract is necessary when an employer wishes to employ someone for a particular period only (for example, when an employer needs to hire a temporary employee whilst an employee is on maternity leave or off for surgery). The dates where the employee will be leaving to go on maternity leave and return from maternity leave are made known to the temporary employee. A Fixed Purpose Employment Contract is used when an employer wishes to employ someone for a specific purpose, and it is difficult to determine how long it will take the employee to complete the project or task (for instance, planting, burning firebreaks, or entering data into a new computer system). Employers need to understand that when the end date is reached (fixed term) or the project is completed (fixed purpose), the contract must be terminated, and the employee joins the ranks of the unemployed. When employers use these contracts to avoid the implications of a permanent contract by re-employing the same employee repeatedly using one of these temporary contracts, employers risk the employee being viewed as a permanent employee by the CCMA. The test is whether the repeated renewal of temporary contracts has created the expectation of continued employment in the employee's mind. To avoid this risk, where employees have been employed in terms of temporary contracts, these employees should not be re-employed for a period of 3 – 6 months.

Presenting Evidence In CCMA Matters: The Benefits Of Comprehensive Heads Of Argument

Appearing at the CCMA can be stressful. Proper preparation can alleviate a lot of that stress. Preparing comprehensive Heads of Argument is part of that preparation. 

Heads of Argument are a compilation of the significant points and the reasoning process of one’s argument. Heads of Argument are used to save time and trouble by directing the CCMA Commissioner’s attention to the appropriate and relevant portions of the record so that a proper analysis of the issues can occur. It also helps the Commissioner to deliver an award expeditiously. 

The purpose of Heads of Argument is to deliver a persuasive argument to the Commissioner to rule in one’s favour. It helps the Commissioner to understand what one is addressing and what one needs to prove to be successful.  

Heads of Argument:  

  • present the relevant points or arguments relied on in a manner that is concise and easy to understand; and  
  • provide a summary of the evidence to be presented and advance submissions concerning it; and 
  • deal with legislation, case law, and past judgments pertinent to the case at hand; and 
  • contain the necessary documentary evidence (such as photographs, minutes, notices, transcripts, etc.) as Annexures. This is particularly important as all the required documents will be centralised and easily accessible. 

The Commissioner may want time to consider both arguments and will draft a written award at a later stage. In these instances, Heads of Argument serve as a reminder of one’s argument. It is, therefore, imperative that the Heads of Argument are detailed, contain all the necessary documents, and will provide the Commissioner with all the pertinent points of your case. 

It is advisable to seek legal assistance with drafting Heads of Argument in a CCMA matter to ensure that it contains all the necessary information and is prepared following the Rules and the Practice and Procedure Manual of the CCMA. 

If you have any questions about other Labour or Land issues, contact McCarthy & Associates Attorneys on (033) 266 6170 or  via email