Company structure

The writer raises awareness on company structure and its employment contracts. Picture: SUPPLIED

In any business there will always be a business plan. This is clearly amplified when one registers his or her business.

The objects of the organisation needs to be articulated in the application form and shall and is reflected in the certificate of registration.

The object becomes the core function of the organisation or the reason the company exist.

From the objects the functional structure of the organisation is established and the manning level is benchmarked against the functional structure.

Introduction: The company structure After the manning level is established from the functional structure, the organizational flow chart can be designed and confirmed.

Each position in the flow chart has a direct link to the core function and as such its respective job description is designed to fulfil the respective core function.

Employment contract When the manning level is filled in accordance to the above mentioned process, each recruited worker is given a job description to collectively fulfil the functions of the organisation.

The minimum qualification requirement is based on the need and the skill sets required to fulfil the respective function.

The contract is the legal document that obligates the employer and the worker to the legitimate expectation arising out of the functions and will govern the employment relationship between the two.

This expectation is so serious that should a worker fail, to carry out his or her job description, he or she can be lawfully summarily dismissed.

In fact, if a worker cannot fulfill his obligations for other reasons for habitual late coming, absenteeism, disruptiveness the employer would be in its right to summarily dismiss that said worker.

Employment Contracts ERA 2007 Sections 21 to 42 of the Employments Relations Act establishes the prescribed provisions for the Employment Contract as follows:

Clause 21 Outlines the provisions of Part 5

Clause 22 All contracts are governed by the Act

Clause 23 Contracts must be in writing and no contracts must provide conditions inferior to the provisions in the ERA.

Clause 24 Wages must be paid to all employees whether or not work has been carried out unless the worker was prevented to work because of an act of God

Clause 25 When a worker dies, the employer is obligated to report to the Ministry of Labour and pay all wages other renumerations to the next of kin and or dependants.

Clause 26 An employer is not required to pay a worker who is absent in respect of a period of lawful detention or imprisonment

Clause 27 Presumption as to period of contracts and termination of contract.

Clause 28 Irrespective of whether the contract has a start date or end date, if the contract does not have specific provision saying that the contract is not renewable it can be presumed to have entered into a contract for an indefinite duration.

Clause 29 If a contract does not have a notice period for termination then the pay period becomes the pay period for notification.

Clause 30 This is the prescribed criteria for termination any breach of the said criteria can lead to the decision being overturned for unlawful termination. Basically you should give the proper notice period, pay all renumerations and issue a Certificate of Employment.

Clause 31 A contract for peace work or task work can be agreed upon and the contract shall be terminated upon the completion of the task or peace work.

Clause 32 Wages are due as per agreement

Clause 33 An employer can summarily dismiss a worker without notice for the following reasons: 1. Incompetence 2. Habitual or substantial neglect of the workers duties 3. For continued or of the employer and without reasonable excuse

Clause 34 The worker who has been summarily dismissed is entitled to all accrued renumeration and the conditions prescribed in Section 30

Clause 35 In the absence of any written contract and oral contract is deemed to be a contract for the period under reference for which wages are payable. Daily contracts can fall also under this category.

Clause 36 All contracts must be in writing for the purpose of this section

Clause 37 A collective agreement is deemed to be a written contract, all foreign contracts has to be endorsed by the ministry, no one can act as an employment agent without the authority of the permanent secretary

Clause 38 · An Employment Contract must be signed by the Employment · As a minimum, contain the particulars set out in Schedule 2 · It is unlawful to subject a worker to a medical examination for HIV/AIDS or screening for sexually transmitted disease or pregnancy

Clause 39 Any transfer of contract must be done by mutual consent

Clause 40 A contract is terminated upon the expiration of the contract period or by the death of a worker does not limit any legal claims. The repatriation of the deceased worker is the employer’s responsibility

Clause 41 A contract can be determined if the Employer is unable to fulfill the contract or due to sickness or accident, the worker is unable to fulfill the contract

(Please note the above is not a conclusive synopsis of the provisions under reference. The issues raised only covered questions that were most often asked in the IR Consultant’s help line)

Schedule 2 of the era
The template contained in this schedule is just the minimum. One cannot give less but nothing is stopping an employer from giving more and better conditions. To ensure whether or not your contract is compliant with the ERA just make sure that everything in this template is contained in your contract.

Conclusion
The principle remains the same. Whether you are a big employer or a domestic employer.

The worker is employed to fulfil certain functions required at the work place. In employing them you are required to comply with the laws of Fiji.

The employment contract that is aligned to the business plan through the job description and is compliant with the minimum labour standards set out in the provisions highlighted above will go a long way in ensuring productivity at the workplace.

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