New CCMA Rules Effective from 1 April 2015 - Update from the Employment Law department
The amended Rules of Conduct before the CCMA were promulgated on Tuesday, 17 March 2015 and will come into effect on 1 April 2015. In addition, the earlier Guidelines on Misconduct Arbitrations (2011) have been repealed and replaced by new Guidelines also to come into effect on 1 April 2015.
The amendments to the CCMA Rules include (but are not limited) the following:
1. Service and Filing by E-mail
1.1 In addition to the current standard methods of service (fax,hand delivery or registered mail), provision has been made for documents to be served on parties and filed with the CCMA by e-mail.
1.2 In order to satisfy the CCMA that an email has been successfully transmitted, the respective party must provide a copy of the e-mail as well as any attachments thereto.
1.3 The CCMA may also (although this has been a practice for some time now) notify parties of conciliations, arbitrations or any other proceedings by way of SMS.
2. Notification of Conciliation
2.1 The CCMA through its normal practice is obliged to notify parties, in writing, of the date on which conciliation will proceed at least 14 days prior to the scheduled date (Rule 11).
2.2 The amended Rules have now clarified that the time period of 14 days must run from the date on which the notification was sent by the CCMA. An additional 7 days must be provided for if the set down notice is sent to a party by registered mail. In other words, at least 21 days notice of conciliation must be provided.
2.3 The amended Rules also allow the parties to agree to a shorter time period within which notification of conciliation may be issued by the CCMA.
3. Notification of Arbitration
3.1 The CCMA through its normal practice is obliged to notify parties, in writing, of the date on which an arbitration will proceed at least 21 days prior to the scheduled date (Rule 21).
3.2 The amended Rules have now clarified that the time period of 21 days must run from the date on which the notification was sent by the CCMA. An additional 7 days must be provided for if the set down notice is sent to a party by registered mail. In other words, at least 28 days notice of an arbitration date must be provided.
4. Attendance at Conciliation Proceedings
4.1 In terms of the amended Rule 13, the Commissioner is no longer empowered to dismiss a matter at conciliation due to the non-attendance of a party.
5.1 Unless permitted to do so by the CCMA, Rule 25(1) (d) precludes any person other than a legal practitioner from charging fees for representing a party at any CCMA proceedings.
6.1 The CCMA has once again clarified the time periods within which an application must be served and filed on all interested parties, in this case an application must be brought at least 14 days prior to the hearing (Rule 31(2)).
7. Applications for Condonation
7.1 When a Commissioner exercises powers to grant an application for condonation, the Commissioner may now act in a manner as it deems expedient to achieve the objects of the Labour Relations Act and must have regard to substance rather than form of the application (Rule 35(2)).
8. Orders of Cost in an Arbitration
8.1 Rule 39 has been completely rewritten to provide that CCMA arbitrators should have regard to the following when determining whether a cost order should be granted in favour of the successful party:
8.1.1 the measure of success that the parties achieved;
8.1.2 considerations of fairness that weigh in favour of or against a cost order;
8.1.3 the effect a cost order may have on a continued employment relationship; and
8.1.4 any agreement between the parties about costs.
8.2 Reasonable disbursements may be included when determining the costs to be awarded (Rule 39(2)).
8.3 Legal fees may only be awarded if the other party to the arbitration was also legally represented.
8.4 Legal fees are limited to a maximum of R6000 (VAT incl.) for the first day and R4000 (VAT incl.) per day for any additional days thereafter (Rule 39(3) & (4)).
Clients are most welcome to contact our Employment Law Department to discuss the amended CCMA Rules in further detail.