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The official newsletter of ironWILL - June 2020

2020....6 months gone ? Noooooo .....

Time flies over us, but leaves its shadow behind.

We are halfway through 2020 and have been locked in our homes most of this time.  We have to adjust to the new normal – whatever that means. 
To our youth, which we’ve just celebrated during the month of June, the new normal means not attending classes, postponing graduation, not finding that workplace experience so much needed to get a qualification and path the way for a position in a well reputed company.
Reputed companies with good track record find themselves looking at possible solutions not the retrench their employees.  In most cases, the new normal is retrenchment for many companies and employees.  We have a look at how to do it right as we are working with people’s livelihoods and their futures. 
Looking after the wellness of our employees in these times of the “new normal” is of utmost importance, especially those individuals in the human resources position.  Supporting our employees who must deal with their spouses and children being retrenched and moving to an one income household. 

And then of course amidst it all we have the implementation of the POPI Act coming into effect on 1 July 2020 which will force companies to comply with the protection of persona information within 1 year. 
POPI – What , how and when ?
I don’t think there are many people who can say they are not bombarded almost on a daily basis by calls from people wanting to sell them something. Quite often in the last months these telesales people have even became more clever on how they spin their story to get to the point of eventually having you long enough on the line to offer you something.
And then we test them, “where did you get my details?” and where did I give you permission to market to me and do you know you needed my opt in first prior to calling me ? And the answers can make up a comedy series.
What is more worrying to me is that these telesales are from the well-known brand companies who call and I know for a fact that I have seen some of these companies talking bout their POPI privacy programs so far as 2 years back already. Somewhere the message to the poor telesales person have gone south.
So what is the fuss about ? Is this only for big companies?
So let me start at the what is the POPI Act.
In laymen’s terms the POPI Act is there to protect people’s personal information. It regulates business in terms of when they can collect it, which information they are allowed to collect, when they can share it and how long they are allowed to keep it.
The act was signed into law already in 2013, but the implementation deadline has now been signed off by Government with the official date of 30 June 2021 thus giving companies a year to get compliant.
Don’t make these Retrenchment blunders
With the rapid decline of the South African economy, I have found myself consulting increasingly on possible retrenchments and restructuring exercises as employers seek to remain profitable or even to avoid total closure.  The retrenchment process is well regulated within the Labour Relations Act but it can still cause an employer plenty of headaches if not implemented correctly.
As if the situation is not stressful enough an employer could end up in Labour Court on the losing side of a judgement if they didn’t follow the process correctly.
So to avoid ending up at the CCMA or Labour Court, I will highlight a few areas that will set you up for success in the unfortunate case of retrenchments.
Know your labour laws
There are no shortcuts when it comes to implementing the legal requirements for retrenchments so make sure your follow the process or get a specialist to advise you.  Remember that the onus is on the employer to prove that all the provisions of the Act have been satisfied.
Seek alternatives but don’t wait too long
No employer is eager to retrench, so they may spend too much time seeking alternatives, hoping to turn the business around. However, the longer they delay, the more pressure they face to complete the process quicker.
Hurrying through the consultation process
Employers are required to consult with their employees, or their union or employee representatives.  The consultation cannot be rushed or short circuited in any way and the entire retrenchment can take quite long. For large scale retrenchments, at least 60 days are required. So employers should start consultation as soon as possible.

Wellness programmes - Financial Management.
COVID-19 has made employees look at finance in a different way. Most corporate are now paying their employees up to 80% of their salaries.
Employees need understand that Debt relief on loans, does mean that the repayment period will stay the same. The repayment period will be extended.
Debt and financial management are a major problem impacting on productivity in the South African workplace. In most cases an employees' adverse financial position impacts negatively on productivity. During this COVID-19 crisis companies need to engage with the employees regarding financial education as a return on investment.
Employee wellness professionals already in the company's employ can undergo training as debt counsellors with an accredited service provider of the NCR. The debt counsellor's duties involve rearranging debt, mediating between consumer and credit provider and obtaining a court order on behalf of consumers.

The National Credit Act (NCA Act 34 of 2005):
  • Promotes economic and social welfare of all South
  • Africans;
  • Promotes a fair and transparent credit market;
  • Protects consumers and their rights;
  • Regulates credit providers, debt counsellors and credit bureaux;
  • Limits the cost of credit; and
  • Levels the playing field between credit providers by standardising the granting of credit.
The purpose of the NCA is therefore to simplify and standardise the manner in which information is disclosed in credit agreements. It also regulates credit bureaux and the information that these bureaux record on consumers and ensures that different credit providers manage all credit products in the same manner.


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For companies thinking this is a quick exercise of just updating a document and informing employees will wake up to another shadow of non-compliance and fines.
Reflecting on the first 6 months of 2020 we had Covid-19, Lockdown, TERS-UIF, SDL Holiday, Annexure II extension, Covid-19 Health and Safety Regulations.  And the next six months?  POPI, Employment Equity reporting, Grant applications, Retrenchments, Training-Layoff Schemes and initiatives to rouse a dying economy with more redtape. 
It sure is exciting to live in the age of the “new normal”.

Ronel Roux - CEO
Therefore any business who collects any personal information from anybody, that includes information from your employees must be compliant.
So how does a company get compliant and stay compliant?
First and foremost awareness needs to be created within a company. Then an assessment needs to be done to define the risk and a mitigation plan need to be compiled and implemented.
Ongoing reporting needs to put into place to monitor and report ongoing compliancy.
Seems simple hey? Yes it actually is , the challenge is that there are so much noise around POPI that the poor business owners might run scared. I have seen some noise from some of the Legal Fraternity scaring people with the consequences, then I often see the absurd statement by Software Solution Providers “Our Software is POPI compliant because we encrypt the information “ and the noise go on and on.
My advice is be pragmatic. Assess your operation, identify the risk and mitigate it by implementing a proper plan which you can maintain into the future.

Rudie Bronkhorst
Sales & Marketing Manager

Notifications must be served correctly
Apart from ensuring they contain the right information, employers must serve notices to all employees who may possibly be affected by the retrenchment, whether they will be dismissed or not, and not only those targeted for dismissal.
Keep the process neutral
Employers should never handpick or preconceive who will be dismissed before the consultation.  The appropriate selection criteria must be determined by the employer and then consulted on with the potentially affected parties and should be applied in an unbiased manner, such as last-in-first-out, retention of skills, etc.
What about remaining staff members?
So you’ve ensured your retrenchment policies are robust and compliant, and that your retrenchment packages are structured to offer the greatest value to exiting employees.  But what about those staying behind, who feel overwhelmed by what just happened and what the future holds?
Employees want certainty during these times so it is important to share as much as you possibly can about the situation without discussing the details.  Shift the focus from the present to the future and show employees that they are part of the company’s future plans.


Tiaan Dwyer 
CEO | FIC Consulting | HR & Labour Consulting

The Act further aims to assist over-indebted consumers to restructure their debt and provides the assistance of debt counsellors. The NCA also appoints one regulator, namely the NCR, to regulate the entire credit market and establishes the National Consumer Tribunal to adjudicate matters relating to the Act (NCR, 2007).
Financial Management Training for Employees
Although debt counselling will certainly benefit employees, preventing over-indebtedness is by far the best option for both the employer and employee. As such, training in personal financial planning is pivotal.
Budget planning is considered crucial. Employees need assistance in balancing their different priorities. All too often, lack of parenting skills could also result in an indebted parent. It is thus imperative that the issue be addressed on multiple levels to enable the individual to manage his or her finances responsibly. The employee wellness professional will be well aware of the interrelatedness of psychosocial pressures with financial management. Invariably, debt counselling should thus be performed in a holistic manner as part of the organisation's Employee Wellness Programme (EWP).
  • A quality programme in debt management will typically include:
  • The rules and risks of borrowing money
  • Understanding how interest is calculated How to apply for credit
  • How to get out of debt and how to avoid over• indebtedness
  • The different types of lenders and the pitfalls associated with each, and
  • How to service debt and retain a clean record.
The importance of providing for emergency expenditure and retirement should form a crucial part of any programme.
 Tendy Mdilhane 
Progamme Manager



The following services are offered by them :

MZ Learning Academy - Accredited Learning provider
Gemini Training Material - SETA & QCTO aligned material
RMTransform - BEE Consulting
FIC Consulting - HR Management and Consulting
Common Cents - Payroll & Bookkeeping Solutions
OHSS - Occupational Health and Safety Training & Consulting

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