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Employment & Pensions

As one of the world’s largest law firms, with over 8,000 professionals and staff, CMS has first-hand experience of a wide range of employment matters. Due to our size and reach, we face many of the same challenges as our clients – and often find solutions together.

Successful businesses in every sector know that employment terms, conditions and benefits are key competitive functions in today’s changing and increasingly mobile markets. The challenge of attracting and keeping talented employees has intensified, as employment relationships adapt to the age of the platform worker and the emerging impact of automation and digitalisation.

To ensure the odds are on your side, you must manage your employees and their benefits, as well as your employee representatives, such as bargaining councils and unions. Yet most HR matters – from executive contracts and equal opportunities to restructurings, transfer of business issues and restrictive covenants – can be complex and contradictory.  Your management team may have to deal with employment law in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America, and face issues like directives, court decisions, national laws, local cases and precedent. Our 450 sector specialists can help you navigate the maze of HR regulations, policy documents and legal complexities confronting you on a daily basis.

If your business crosses borders, you will face additional hurdles. With a global network covering over 40 countries, the CMS Employment team advises on employment law issues affecting cross-border business including:

  • The effects of mergers, acquisitions, outsourcing, offshoring, nationalisation and privatisation
  • Bargaining councils’ co-determination rights at international, national or individual company level
  • Compliance (including remuneration) with national and international laws and standards
  • Behaviour at work, misconduct, ill health and discrimination (on prohibited grounds as well as in relation to equal remuneration for equal work)
  • Individual and collective dismissals and severance agreements
  • New forms of employment and ways of working
  • Wage taxes, fringe benefits, expat regulations and cross-border secondments
  • Dispute resolution, litigation and mediation for employment and labour matters, including labour law and trade union issues and disputes
  • Employee competition and confidentiality
  • Employment contracts, policies and collective agreements.

Given that employment related issues are so complex, they may also require expertise in other areas, such as corporate law for restructuring cases, or tax law relating to, for example, senior management contracts and international mobility. To provide the best possible advice, the CMS Employment group works closely with experts from other practice areas and specialist CMS groups.

At CMS, we aim to guide our clients through evolving business environments and to ensure they make the most of opportunities.



CMS Next
What’s next? In a world of ever-ac­cel­er­at­ing change, stay­ing ahead of the curve and know­ing what’s next for your busi­ness or sec­tor is es­sen­tial.At CMS, we see ourselves not only as your leg­al ad­visers but also as your busi­ness part­ners. We work to­geth­er with you to not only re­solve cur­rent is­sues but to an­ti­cip­ate fu­ture chal­lenges and in­nov­ate to meet them.With our latest pub­lic­a­tion, CMS Next, our ex­perts will reg­u­larly of­fer you in­sights in­to and fresh per­spect­ives on a range of is­sues that busi­nesses have to deal with – from ESG agen­das to re­struc­tur­ing after the pan­dem­ic or fa­cing the di­git­al trans­form­a­tion. We will also share with you more about the work that we are do­ing for our cli­ents, help­ing them in­nov­ate, grow and mit­ig­ate risk.To be able to provide you with the best sup­port, we im­merse ourselves in your world to un­der­stand your leg­al needs and chal­lenges. However, it is equally im­port­ant that you know who we are and how we can work with you. So, we in­vite you to meet our ex­perts and catch a glimpse of what is hap­pen­ing in­side CMS.En­joy read­ing this pub­lic­a­tion, which we will up­date reg­u­larly with new con­tent.CMS Ex­ec­ut­ive Team
On the CCMA Vac­cin­a­tion Dis­missal Rul­ing: em­ploy­ers should be cau­tious...
The re­cent CCMA rul­ing that looked at the fair­ness of a dis­missal of an em­ploy­ee re­fus­ing to vac­cin­ate, the first of such cases, has sparked a grow­ing and in­ter­est­ing de­bate re­gard­ing the ways in which...
Whis­tleblower pro­tec­tion and re­port­ing chan­nels in South Africa
1. Is there a law on whis­tleblow­ing in your coun­try? Yes. The Pro­tec­ted Dis­clos­ures Act No 26 of 2000 (“PDA”) is the key piece of le­gis­la­tion gov­ern­ing whis­tleblow­ing in South Africa. In ad­di­tion...
Can an em­ploy­er in South Africa in­sist that an em­ploy­ee is vac­cin­ated?
The long awaited first CCMA award has been is­sued on a dis­missal arising out of an em­ploy­ee re­fus­ing to be vac­cin­ated. The mat­ter of Theresa Mul­der­ij v Goldrush Group (GA­JB24054-21), re­volved around...
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As the world is open­ing up more and more, we are see­ing many em­ploy­ers im­ple­ment­ing a hy­brid work­ing sys­tem for many of their em­ploy­ees. In terms of these sys­tems, we are see­ing em­ploy­ees be­ing able to...
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1. Dis­missal of em­ploy­ees 1.1 Reas­ons for dis­missal In terms of the La­bour Re­la­tions Act 66 of 1995 (“LRA”), an em­ploy­ee has the right to be fairly dis­missed.  A fair dis­missal must be both sub­stant­ively...
Three hur­rahs for the tattletale
Whistle-blowers play a cru­cial role in en­sur­ing ac­count­ab­il­ity and should be hailed as her­oes Tsar Ivan the Ter­rible ad­vanced on the city of Pskov in 1570 with his army to pun­ish its in­hab­it­ants for...
Can the South Afric­an eco­nomy do without uni­on­ised strikes?
Lock­down rendered many things im­possible, among them the abil­ity for uni­ons to ‘show up’ for their mem­bers in what has tra­di­tion­ally been the status quo for ne­go­ti­ation in South Africa: the or­gan­ised...
Do­ing away with ‘strike sea­son’ could lead to more el­eg­ant solu­tions
In many coun­tries, par­tic­u­larly SA, the abil­ity to or­gan­ise a strike is where a uni­on best demon­strates its strength.It is the ul­ti­mate touch­point where mem­bers feel they de­rive true value from their...