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By Lizle Louw, Partner at Webber Wentzel
It is time for the mining sector to embrace modern and effective methods of communicating employment contracts.
The use of visually aided employment contracts is on the rise as employers are turning to clear, illustrated narratives to convey important information to their employees. Dubbed "comic contracts", these contracts use comic strip-style visuals to represent parties and capture terms and conditions in a way that is easy to understand.
The workforce in South African extractive industries is diverse, with varying cultural and linguistic backgrounds, sometimes making it difficult to establish mutual understanding. In high-risk environments, clear communication is crucial, yet traditional written contracts and policies can be confusing and laden with legalese. Written contracts are increasingly seen as a source of risk in that parties do not read or interpret the contracts that they sign, especially in workplaces where employees are not required to read extensively as part of their day-to-day activities. The adoption of comic contracts could reduce the risk of miscommunication, labour disputes, accidents, and injuries as it will aid the understanding of safety protocols and other standard operating procedures or codes of conduct.
An example of identifying important terms with icons indicating the rate of pay, deductions, payment date, reporting structure, and so on appears above. This approach appeals to a younger generation accustomed to the concise and visual communication of social media.
The statutory requirement that an employer supplies an employee with minimum written particulars is certainly no deterrent. To ensure compliance, ordinary written text strategically placed in speech balloons and captions could be included as part of a comic employment contract.
In short, employees should understand the contracts they sign, and it is time for the mining sector to embrace this modern and effective method of communicating employment terms. Webber Wentzel can assist in creating these contracts, ensuring clarity and avoiding misinterpretation.
Edited by: Creamer Media Reporter
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