Employers who use labour brokers are obliged to take on workers after three months if they fall below a certain earning threshold, putting to rest a long-disputed provision of the Labour Relations Act. In a landmark judgment this week, the Labour Appeal Court settled a protracted battle among unions, employers and labour brokers — or temporary employment services — over the interpretation of the most recent amendment to the act regulating labour brokers. The court found that companies that use labour brokers are the sole "employer". The clarification arose after there was confusion among unions, companies and labour brokers about a "deeming provision" that some parties misinterpreted to mean that labour brokers and their clients were dual employers. The National Union of Metalworkers of SA approached the court to obtain clarity on who was obliged to hire staff permanently following three-month stints as temporary workers. The amendment to the act was effected in January 2015 after a...

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