How To Register A Workplace Code of Conduct In Zimbabwe

How To Register A Workplace Code of Conduct In Zimbabwe

A code of conduct refers to a set of rules of conduct, procedure, values and ethical principles which is used to govern the work place. Having a code of conduct in your workplace is key to provide staff with clear standards and expectations of how to conduct themselves at the workplace. The Labour Act Cap 28:01 in particular Section 101 deals with the registration of codes of conduct in Zimbabwe.

The Act provides that an employment council or a works council may apply in the manner prescribed to the Registrar of Labour to register an employment code that shall be binding in respect of the industry, undertaking or workplace to which it relates.

It is important to note that an employment council refers to an association of registered employers organization or federations and registered trade unions or federations of such trade unions registered in terms of Section 59 of the Labour Act hence once it registers a code of conduct the code of conduct binds the industry or undertaking it relates to. In the same vein a works council refers to a body established at a work place composed of an equal number of members representing the employer and the workers committee as provided for in Section 25A of the Labour Act. Hence the works council is the only vehicle through which a workplace code of conduct can be registered.

The Act is categorical that once an employment council has registered a code of conduct governing employers and employees represented by it, no works council may apply to register a workplace code in respect of the same industry unless it first refers the code to the employment council for approval. Where the employment council declines to approve the code, the works council may refer the matter to a Labour Officer and the determination of the Labour Officer on the matter shall be final unless the parties agree to refer it to voluntary arbitration in terms of Section 93(5) (b) of the Labour Act.

It is also important to note that where a code is registered by a works council in respect of an workplace represented by an employment council and the employment council subsequently registers its own code, the code registered by the employment council shall take precedence over that of the works council code unless the works council refers its code to the employment council for its approval.

The first step in registering a workplace code of conduct is to come up with a draft code of conduct agreed by the works council at the workplace and then next step is to seek approval of the same from the respective employment council.

Once it is approved the next step is to apply to the Registrar of Labour in a prescribed manner to register the code.

The Act makes it mandatory for the employment code to provide for the following;

  • the disciplinary rules to be observed in the undertaking, industry or workplace concerned, including the precise definition of those acts or omissions that constitute misconduct;
  • the procedures to be followed in the case of any breach of the employment code;
  • the penalties for any breach of the employment code, which may include oral or written warnings, fines, reductions in pay for a specified period, suspension with or without pay or on reduced pay, demotion and dismissal from employment;
  • the person, committee or authority that shall be responsible for implementing and enforcing the rules, procedures and penalties of the employment code;
  • the notification to any person who is alleged to have breached the employment code that proceedings are to be commenced against him in respect of the alleged breach;
  • the right of a person referred to in paragraph (e) to be heard by the appropriate person, committee or authority referred to in paragraph (d) before any decision in his case is made;
  • a written record or summary to be made of any proceedings or decisions taken in terms of the employment code, which record or summary shall be made at the time such proceedings and decisions are taken.

Once the Registrar of Labour is satisfied that the code of conduct complies with these mandatory contents, the code may be registered. Once registered the workplace code of conduct becomes effective and binding at the workplace with effect from the date of registration.

The works council may apply at any time after registration of an employment code of conduct to register an amendment to the employment code and the above mentioned procedure is observed mutatis mutandis.

The contents of this article are for general information purposes only and do not constitute our legal or professional advice. We accept no responsibility for any loss or damage of whatsoever nature which may arise from reliance on any of the information published herein.

Copyright © Marume & Furidzo Legal Practitioners 2019

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