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WHAT IF FINANCIALLY STRESSED EMPLOYERS CANNOT AFFORD TO RETRENCH?
In essence if an employer can’t afford to retrench they need to enter into an agreement with the staff which must be reduced to writing. That agreement would allow the employer to pay off the retrenchment packages over a period of time. I have been doing this on a regular basis right throughout the pandemic. Most employees fully understand the nature of the situation.
There are other options which can be explored. Obviously temporary layoffs can be done especially if they belong to a bargaining council. Otherwise the temporary layoff has to be negotiated with the staff or the trade union. This is similar with regard to short time.
Unilateral layoff and short time can be explored during the pandemic and the lockdown as it seems to have become common practice throughout. There does not seem to be any law giving employers permission to do this unilaterally but as I said it seems to have been a common approach. We will be seeing many court cases and judgments on this over the next few years.