By Sanette Viljoen
During the Covid-19 pandemic lockdown employers were requested to try and allow their employees to work from home, if possible. Many employers reacted positively and requested many of their employees to work from home. The lockdown is now virtually over and there are still thousands of employees who work from home. However, the question is whether my employer may decrease my salary because I work from home? If my employer did do this, what are my remedies?
If employees work from home the employer may definitely not decrease the salary unilaterally because the employee is still doing his or her work, albeit from home. Any change in the labour contract that the employer wants to make with regard to payment, can only be done with the consent of the employee.
Should the employer unilaterally decrease the employee’s salary, there are remedies available to the employee:
- If the employee’s salary is less than R205 000 a year he may refer the dispute to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).
- Secondly the employee may also resign. The decrease in payment amounts to constructive dismissal. The constructive dismissal case may then be referred to the CCMA.
It is important to note that should the employer close his business due to Covid-19 and employees can no longer work, it amounts to no work, no pay.
It is also important to note that an employer may unilaterally apply statutory leave (ordinary leave to which a person is entitled), in other words, the employer may put you on compulsory leave.
If you find yourself in this situation it would be wise to contact a labour consultant or your trade union to assist you before you take steps.