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Give it a professional push 763 507 HR Studio

Give it a professional push

It is often around this time of the year that you start to feel like you’re on a treadmill doing a 90 degree climb. Family and friends are planning end of year holidays, the weather is getting warmer and you want to be outside, working less and playing more. That, compounded by 18 months of a global pandemic and varying degrees of mental strain and it’s no surprise that employees may feel exhausted, fatigued and unmotivated right now.

But the festive season break is around the corner and now is not the time to compromise your employment. It’s time for that end of year professional push before a much needed holiday. Easier said than done, we know. Try these to help stay focused:

Plan and prioritise: as the holidays begin to approach, you may realise there is a lot you still need to accomplish before the year is out. Are you on track to meet your sales target? Are you mapping to your client’s expectations for the last few weeks of the year? Now is the time to assess those tasks and get them done. Nothing ruins that eventual holiday like having to work through it or coming back to a mountain of deliverables. Use this time to plot your next steps and work your way through your to-do list. It will make getting to the end of the year all the sweeter when you finally log off.

Mental well-being check: now is a good time to check in with yourself and how you are coping.  Lockdowns, isolation, and learning to work remotely had a noticeable impact on our mental wellness. If you are feeling mentally fatigued, anxious and not yourself, look into your company’s Employee Assistance Programme (EAP) if you haven’t yet or reach out to your manager so they are aware. You don’t have to struggle alone at a time of year when it’s already hard to get through the work day.

Vacay on the weekend: sitting in mid November thinking about December might feel like that end of year break is in a galaxy far away but don’t think like that. Work hard week on week and enjoy your weekends. There’s no reason you can’t add a little ‘vacay’ to the weekend either. Spending time outside, going for a picnic and doing fun things on the weekend makes the weeks between now and the office shut down manageable. 

As an employer here are some ideas as well to keep your team motivated and focused.

Empathise: as an employer you are just as excited for a break at the end of the year. Be honest with your team. Communicate that you too understand that end of year fatigue and motivate everyone to give that last 100% push.

Delay the festivities: offering employees something to look forward to helps manage the end of year lull. Plan your end of year festive function closer to shutdown. Hosting it in early November could get your team into holiday mode sooner than you would like.

Offer support: the best thing you could do as an employer right now is offer your people the support they need. Whether it’s reminding everyone about the company EAP or having an open door policy to lend a supportive ear, showing you care will go a long way.

If you would like more advice and support keeping your people motivated as we head towards the festive season, get in touch with us today.

How insights and analytics can help you, help your employees 1024 576 HR Studio

How insights and analytics can help you, help your employees

Stacy Perlstein, CEO and founder of HR Studio and Shawn Cloete, Managing Partner of  Teamphoria EMEA bring a ton of energy to a Zoom call in the middle of the week. Both deeply committed to what they do and all fired up to ensure they deliver for their clients, it is clear they are experts in their respective fields. Both in the business of employee engagement and management, there is no doubt that right now, most business owners could use some help supporting their people.

While HR Studio is in the business of supporting people professionally and emotionally in a more one to one working environment,  Teamphoria are in the business of helping you create and nurture the company culture you want with bespoke employee engagement software.

With a front row seat to the impact of the Covid-19 pandemic on human resources and industrial relations, Stacy knows all too well the importance of ensuring employee morale and engagement. “Happy and engaged employees are more productive which at the end of the day results in a better output and satisfied clients.”

With Teamphoria, Stacy now uses quick surveys to check in on how people are coping and the employee engagement software allows her to  monitor the morale of the team in real time.  “These tools have never been more critical at a time when employee mental wellness has been at risk.” says Shawn “Quick check-ins could mean identifying bigger problems before they happen.” 

“I would also highly recommend these tools for those concerned about talent retention” Stacy adds. “Employee loyalty increases amongst employees who feel recognised for their accomplishments which is why Teamphoria’s employee recognition software is so powerful.”

And for those committed to helping their employees grow and develop, there is a simple and effective employee review option and goal setting function.

People remain the most important asset to any business. Supporting them is critical but also time-consuming when there are so many things to do on any given day. This technology helps you help your employees and with a team like HR Studio supporting the people using this software, your people are in the best hands.  Like we said, for the most energised call you are yet to have this year, get online with Stacy and Shawn now

Diversity and common values – room in the boardroom for both 511 484 HR Studio

Diversity and common values – room in the boardroom for both

As a group of women at different stages in our lives and of different races, religions and cultures of course we have varying opinions and approaches to how we do things at HR Studio. But as opposed to a source of conflict, this is what ignites our dynamism, effectiveness and success.

“Workplace diversity has taken the corporate and HR world by storm,” says HR Studio MD and founder Stacy Perlstein “It is critical that as employers we ensure diversity and inclusion (DEI) in the workplace to make sure our teams are set up for success. Focusing on DEI is not only beneficial for your business, McKinsey research has found that organisations in the top quartile for workforce diversity are 33% more likely to financially outperform less diverse competition, but it is also the right thing to do as we empower our communities.”

At the same time, amidst our diversity, having a clear set of company values is equally important. This helps everyone in the business to understand what you stand for and invest in the same vision. At HR Studio living out our values in our day to day engagements is important to us. This Heritage Day we are celebrating our diversity as well as our common values namely; Be real; Make a difference; Do the right thing; Spread your wings and We are the A team to ensure we always give our best to our clients and each other.

‘For me, the value that most resonates with my day to day approach is BE REAL” says Stacy “not only in terms of who we are as honest and real people but in relation to what we can do for our clients. We will never sugar coat a challenge a business is facing which makes us a strategic partner committed to finding a solution. And off the back of our differences, our combined experiences allow us to curate the best solution for our clients and MAKE A DIFFERENCE in their businesses.”

“A business’s values should offer employees a north star to which we can live up to and can use as a tool to support us through challenging times and tough situations,” says Mologadi Mojapelo, Junior Recruitment Consultant. “For me, the value DO THE RIGHT THING rings loudly in my head every time I find myself uncertain on what to do next.”

Her sentiment is echoed by IR Specialist Risha Singh who adds that DO THE RIGHT THING’ is the most important value when it comes to authentic client counsel and support. 

Working in a diverse environment maps to the value of SPREAD OUR WINGS says Head of Recruitment Jody Treger. ‘We are constantly learning from each other’s experiences and insights. The skills transfer between us is hands-on and ongoing, ultimately allowing us all to grow and develop as people and professionals.’ 

This is certainly the case for Suzette De Beer HR and Operations Office who has flourished since joining HR Studio as her first job. ‘I have certainly spread my wings while working at HR Studio. Not only have I been given the opportunity to grow and develop as an individual but lessons from the team at large have been priceless for me. There is no doubt that diversity breeds learning and growth.”

“Working with a team who supports each other’s strengths is so refreshing compared to the fiercely competitive environments I have experienced before,” says Calli Rosen, PA and Head of Administration. “Our valueWE ARE THE A TEAM is a true reflection of the incredible women I work with every day and inspires me to do what I do.”

“A business that has set and clear company values is poised to attract those people with whom the values resonate “ says Amanda Ninow, Senior Recruitment Consultant. “this ultimately leads to creating an environment that allows people to work together effectively and harmoniously and who doesn’t want a working environment like that?” 

If you would like to design company values collaboratively in the workplace, please get in touch with us today

Insights from all female team on Women’s Month 1024 576 HR Studio

Insights from all female team on Women’s Month

Wise words from our all female team this women’s month

As a female owned and led business, HR Studio prides itself on its full house of women. This Women’s Month we are celebrating the formidable individuals who make up our team.

It all begins with Stacy Perlstein, who opened the doors to HR Studio in 2015 with the intention to better support small to medium sized businesses who deserve and need the same HR support as any large enterprise.

MD and founder,  Stacy believes in empowering other women, nurturing their development and allowing them to be the best versions of themselves – and ‘rule the world’ as she likes to say. She cites one of her greatest personal challenges as not being treated equally and with respect by some of the men with whom she engages.  However they can certainly eat her dust now given that Stacy has grown her business and team tenfold in 6 years with every intention to continue to grow and scale. As for Stacy’s advice when faced with a corporate bully, “Don’t forget who you are, never let anyone tell you, you are not worthy, you are a strong intelligent woman so stand up for yourself. When you are done doubting yourself the real magic happens.”

Of course running your own business can often come at great personal cost. Stacy believes it is critical to take care of yourself physically and mentally to succeed professionally. Stacy has worked hard to create a space that allows people to make an impact in the work they do and be part of a team that is underpinned by kindness and empathy. “At HR Studio, I want people to feel like queens and partners – not another employee”

Her words to other women this month, courtesy of her favourite author Dr Seuss  “So be sure when you step, Step with care and great tact. And remember that life’s A Great Balancing Act. And will you succeed? Yes! You will, indeed! (98 and ¾ percent guaranteed) Kid, you’ll move mountains.”

Jody Treger, Head of Recruitment who has been at HR Studio just shy of 5 years and says that working with all women is a privilege “there is a comfort level between us that facilitates ongoing collaboration. There are no egos and a mutual respect for each other.” Having worked in environments where despite her qualifications, Jody was often delegated to the ‘tea lady’ she often quips about not joining HR Studio sooner.

When it comes to being a woman in a corporate world Jody believes you have to draw the line on what you will and won’t accept when it comes to gender stereotypes and offensive behaviour from male counterparts. “Draw your own line in the sand. No one has the right to dull your sparkle. You are fierce and strong.”

Married with a 6 month old daughter, Jody describes being Lily’s mom as her greatest personal milestone this last year. And working at HR Studio allows her to do what she loves with the flexibility to be the mom that she wants to be too. 

Her words to other women this month – “Live, love, laugh, leave a legacy.” – Stephen Covey

Amanda Ninow, a Senior Recruitment Consultant for HR Studio since April 2021 describes the office as a bunch of professional, exciting sisters doing it for themselves.  Amanda believes that HR Studio proves that women are strong enough and more than capable to run a business entirely on their own.

As for working in an all female office, Amanda says “we all get each other and have each other’s backs. We come together to ensure that we succeed as a united front.”

Having worked in the male dominant IT world, Amanda is familiar with being second guessed and side-lined by male clients which has forced her to work even harder over the years to win them over. Which she did!. Her advice to women who may find themselves in a similar situation? “Be the change you want to see” Amanda says. “stay true to yourself and prove those that disrespect you or bully you, wrong.  And always remember your self-worth is not reliant on any one – just yourself.”

Today,  Amanda prides herself on finding the best talent to meet the needs of her dynamic clients.  Her words to other women this month “For all its anguish, life is ours!  AND Sharks are born swimming”

Suzette De Beer our Operations and HR Office at HR Studio has been with us for almost four years. As her first job, Suzette couldn’t have asked for a more supportive environment describing her onboarding as patient, caring, supported and motivated. “They taught me everything I know” Suzette says, “it has been an amazing journey and I would not be in the position I am today if not for their mentorship, motivation and drive to be my best.”

Suzette describes HR Studio as a place that brings women together to support, and learn from each other both personally and professionally. 

As one of the most organised people at HR Studio, when it comes to finding a work life balance Suzette says that planning allows her to prioritise ensuring time for everything she needs to get done in the day. With that said don’t beat yourself up if things don’t always go according to plan “At the end of the day, you are only one person. It is not humanly possible to do everything all at once. Set realistic timelines for yourself.”

Her words to other women this month, “Live every day like it’s your last. Work hard and stay humble”

Calli Rosin, Head of Administration and PA to the MD joined HR Studio wanting to be part of a powerful group of women making a difference in the lives of others. “With the levels of unemployment so high and rising in the country, I am proud to be part of a team working to help people find jobs”

One of Calli’s greatest challenges as a working mom is juggling her career with taking care of her special needs son. This is why working at HR Studio has been a safe place to land with it’s incredible support culture. 

“We work in an environment when we can speak openly and honestly as a team. I feel understood and surrounded by empathy for each other. This is all underpinned by our common motivation to be the best we can be”

Her words to women this month – “You will be okay because there is no other option; There can be miracles when you believe”

Mologadi Mojapelo is a  Junior Recruitment Consultant about to celebrate a full year at HR Studio who loves the supportive culture of the business. 

Mo feels strongly that women must take a stand against disrespect in the workplace and not saying anything now will create a bigger problem for future generations. 

A big believer in having a work life balance Mo believes that working from home has blurred the line between work and down time and encourages women to switch off at the end of the day. “It’s important to unplug and enjoy those moments”

Her words to women this month – “Be the reason someone smiles today” you never know what challenges a person goes through in a day and a smile from a random person can be enough to elevate their mood”

Risha Singh will celebrate a year at HR Studio next month. An Industrial Relations expert, Risha is hands on with clients dealing with sensitive and interpersonal issues on a daily basis. This is why working in an enthusiastic, vibrant and understanding work environment is so important for Risha

“There is an element of sensitivity in our office, a sense of understanding each other’s professional and personal issues which is comforting particularly during stressful times.” In her line of work, Risha deals with extreme and often unpredictable personalities requiring her to exude calm under pressure.

On that note Risha doesn’t mince her words when it comes to advising on how to handle inappropriate office conduct. “Stand up and speak out. Lodge a grievance and escalate the matter to management immediately so that action can be taken against the perpetrator” 

Risha finds fulfillment in her work against the current climate of the pandemic and rising unemployment. “We are able to assist and help businesses grow which, irrespective of  whether it’s a small business, ultimately contributes to the improvement of the economy and the creation of more jobs. We support our clients with critical HR work so that they have peace of mind to focus their energies on the main function which is running their business.”

Her words to women this month “Quality is remembered long after the price is forgotten”

And there you have it from the formidable women of HR Studio for the month of August. If some of these personal or professional insights and anecdotes resonate with you, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us.

Back to HR Basics 600 800 HR Studio

Back to HR Basics

Over the last year, businesses have had to take extraordinary measures to support employees and ensure business continuity. While some of these interventions, such as more flexible working models and increased levels of empathy are likely to prevail post pandemic, now is an excellent opportunity to revisit the HR basics  – for the benefit of both your company and employees

Stop, recruit and select

Some businesses have seen a flurry of resignations over the past few months as people resigned due to fatigue, depression or in pursuit of more money. While you may need to fill vacancies fast, recruiting and selecting the right candidates is key. People are the lifeblood of any organisation so rather do it properly than rush it. Whether in person or virtually, ensuring a comprehensive interview process and thorough vetting of candidates is so important

Cost of a contract

Don’t get sloppy with your paperwork because it will cost you big time later. A contract of employment is designed to keep the employer safe and keep employees honest in the workplace. The reality is that often the importance of having this contract in place is only realised when it’s too late and either the employer or employee finds themself with a disciplinary issue with little recourse

Let them have leave

Many companies have been more lenient with leave over the last few months understanding the emotional drain on employees. But managing employees’ leave properly is important. Not only in terms of setting a precedent post pandemic but also in terms of ensuring that the business is getting the most out of its people and that your people are getting the time off they need. Every employee is entitled to both annual and sick leave.

Track performance 

While not a requirement of the law, regular performance management ensures that employees know what is expected of them and helps employers identify those candidates deserving of incentive bonuses.   And in cases where employees continue to work remotely, this is even more important to ensure productivity. Performance reviews should be taken seriously – it’s more than just a regular hello, how are you check-in. Both parties need to prepare, ascertain what is working and what is not working ahead of time for a robust and open conversation. Put phones and laptops away too!

You don’t have to go at it alone

From contracts to performance reviews, managing employees is an entire stream of work on its own. Most business owners need to focus on the business at hand so rather than skimp or gloss over important processes, join forces with the right partner to manage your people, so you can manage the bottom line. HR support is also important as your business expands to ensure that you are compliant with all legal requirements and the right processes are in place.

HR Studio is here to support you every step of the way.

Enforcing the Covid-19 vaccination in the workplace requires a delicate balance 800 533 HR Studio

Enforcing the Covid-19 vaccination in the workplace requires a delicate balance

While the country anticipates the roll-out of the Covid-19 vaccine, albeit slower than many of us had hoped, it’s a good time to consider how this will impact your workforce? There is no simple answer for the moment and a level of patience and compassion will be required to support employees.

As it stands, the Minister of Health has indicated that the Covid-19 vaccine will not be obligatory and there is currently no law which requires persons to be vaccinated. So what does this mean for your business and employees? What about the employees who want peace of mind that everyone around them has been vaccinated? What about the employees who refuse to come back to work pending a full house of vaccines? 

There remains a lot of uncertainty and strong opinions around this issue and a catch 22 for employers on what to do. While the National Health Act stipulates that an individual must give consent for medical treatment, the Occupational Health and Safety act requires employers to create a safe working environment for all employees and to do what is reasonably practical to ensure this. So with that said, what is the solve?

Case by case

For the moment, each situation ought to be reviewed on its own merits and on a case-by-case basis. A level of empathy and patience is required to understand why the employee does not want to take the vaccine. If an employee refuses, and they have a valid reason for doing so, then the employer must do their best to accommodate the employee as far as possible especially if it is feasible for the employee to continue working remotely


As an employer you have an opportunity to dispel myths and educate employees on the benefits of the vaccine and encourage them to be vaccinated.

Exhaust all options 

If an employee does not have a valid reason, cannot work remotely and is causing anxiety and discomfort for other employees, then the employer must explore all other alternatives first before taking further action. Can the employer rotate shifts to ensure that those who have been vaccinated feel less at risk or make changes to the office layout to accommodate the situation? All reasonable alternatives must be considered.

Legal ramifications

Termination of the employee’s services must be considered as a last resort and only after all reasonable work arounds have been considered and offered. To complicate the situation further, we are in the early stages of the vaccine roll-out with no recent case law to set precedent meaning every case will have to be judged on its merits as to what is justifiable and reasonable.

Policy outline

Given the uncertainty and angst around the roll-out of the vaccine, it is recommended that companies develop a policy outline to address the different questions and scenarios. This policy should address everything from questions around the vaccine cost in the event the employee feels that cost is a factor to how to respect employee privacy issues around vaccination 

Once again we find ourselves in unchartered territory on how to best support our employees as we navigate the next phase of the Covid-19 pandemic

To ensure your business strikes the delicate balance necessary to navigate and respond to this question appropriately, you will  need a full appreciation of the legal and other factors at play in their workplaces. For questions or support, please don’t hesitate to contact HR Studio.

The Art of the Hard Conversation 311 174 HR Studio

The Art of the Hard Conversation

As business owners, many of us entrust the day to day running of our operations to senior managers. While these individuals no doubt have the right experience and business know-how for the operational  job aspects at hand – are they equipped to handle the real people issues in a time where empathy in the workplace has never been as critical? 

As we ride out the mental wellness wave of the Covid-19 pandemic, ensuring that your senior managers are equipped for hard conversations and able to support your workforce is critical.

Our employees and teams are taking strain. According to the South African Depression and Anxiety Group (SADAG) two-thirds of South Africans said their mental health worsened during lockdown, and some experienced suicidal thoughts. Of course some of these feelings will infiltrate the workplace and impact employee performance as we continue to navigate varying forms of lockdown and uncertainty.

As a business owner you can help equip your senior team members to handle tough conversations. The Covid-19 pandemic has created a fertile ground for the reimagining of employee engagement and workplace support and now is as good a time as ever to have these conversations.

Here are some starter tips

Manager- up

No one likes conflict and sometimes managers will try to avoid difficult conversations opting to rather tiptoe around issues or offer subtle suggestions on how an employee can improve. If that sounds familiar, then it is time to ‘manager-up.’ There has never been more of a need for managers to be hands on and  deal with conflict head on. People are more vulnerable now than ever before and want firm support and direction. Don’t let issues, performance based or personal, run rampant and become bigger than they need to be.

Put down your weapons

Prior to Covid-19, many of us may have opted for a ‘go in guns blazing’ approach demanding an improvement in behaviour – particularly with repeat offenders. But right now empathy and understanding in the boardroom are key. Not only because you run the risk of being labelled insensitive in the middle of a global pandemic but because on some level we can all truly empathise with the reality we are facing. Of course this does not mean that you must not take the necessary action to remedy the issue – but perhaps listen first to understand the trigger causing the poor performance before deciding on next steps.

Lead from the top

Right now feeling anxious or scared is normal. Encourage your senior people to ‘normalise’ employees’ grief and fear. Create a flat discussion from the top about how people are feeling, what has been lost and what concerns them going forward. Are they concerned about their safety in the workplace or job security in general? This type of conversation could also shed some much needed light on how your people are feeling – offering you an opportunity to mitigate additional risk.

Employee Assistance Programme

Sometimes employees do not feel comfortable speaking to their managers directly – and that is ok. As business leaders, ensuring your company offers an Employee Assistance Programme can go a long way in instilling confidence in your team that you care and want to help.

An EAP will give your employees 24/7 confidential access to help and advice whenever they feel they need it most and assures that employees will get access to trained professionals who will be best placed to support them with any mental health issues.


Everyone’s time is precious and it feels like there are never enough hours in the day. With that said, carving out time for a one on one catch ups with employees who are vulnerable or taking a lot of strain may go a long way in terms of them feeling supported and safe.

This is a scary time to be human, let alone a business owner, a manager or an employee but we are in it together. Create a space for people to talk and implement the necessary support for those who need it. It will go a long way to keep employees feeling supported and more productive.

Is your POPI in place? 800 533 HR Studio

Is your POPI in place?

The do’s and don’ts of the Protection of Personal information Act have been bandied about in the media with increased fervour as the July 1, 2021 grace period deadline for compliance nears.  

The POPI Act or POPIA as it has been dubbed, has been designed to regulate the use and processing of personal information – which has become its own currency in today’s world, driving a myriad of bad behaviours for those in pursuit of other people’s private information. We only need to look at the significant increase in identity theft in the country to drive that message home.

So, there is no question as to why this is important. But just how important? Well with some market experts suggesting that your POPIA compliance will directly impact who will or will not do business with you in the near future – look how key BEEE status has become as a conduit to operate –  it is fair to say that as employers, we should sit up and take notice.

As a business owner you need to take accountability of the information you are gathering from employees, suppliers and customers, be open about where it is being used and take every measure you can to ensure its security. 

So besides doing the right thing and avoiding a huge fine or even imprisonment, here is what you must know, do and understand about POPIA. 

  1. Appoint an information officer

We live in a world where information and data is critical so having someone to manage this sensitive commodity makes sense. This role of the Information Officer, amongst other responsibilities is to ensure that the business complies with the lawful processing of personal information. It is recommended that the role be undertaken by a senior member of your team with a solid understanding of information technology and the company’s operations. 

  1. Create awareness

Let your employees, suppliers and customers know that you take the protection of their information seriously and you have taken reasonable steps to be compliant with the Act. For those employees with access to the personal information of others, ensure they understand their responsibilities and limitations too.

  1. Impact assessment

Now that your business and your people are on board it’s time to assess what you are dealing with. An impact assessment will detail who your ‘data subjects’ are from employees to suppliers and customers. Identify the type of data you are keeping and how  personal information is currently processed and handled. This assessment will identify whether any revisions to existing processes ought to be made. This stage will also uncover any potential risk that could jeopardise delicate information. 

  1. Compliance Framework 

Besides being a legal requirement for compliance, this framework ensures everyone in the business is on the same protected page. What this framework is designed to do is to ensure accountability, outline your processing limitation, purpose specification and usage limitation. 

  1. Implementation 

 Make it happen!

 Please do not hesitate to contact us if you need any support with your compliance.

Opening your business safely in 2021 1000 667 HR Studio

Opening your business safely in 2021

The New Year hasn’t quite started off the way we had all hoped.  Covid-19 is still very much a reality and seemingly here to stay for a little longer than any of us would like. This month South Africa recorded 844 deaths and 21 832 new cases in a single day – a grim milestone to kick off the year.

The country has once again, been called on to unite in the fight against this second wave and as employers there is a lot we can – and must do to help.

As a country we are scared which means that your employees are probably scared too and any plans for simply returning to the office need to be carefully considered. President Cyril Ramaphosa made it crystal clear in his address to the nation on January 11th that hygiene and social distancing will remain the order of the day and that holidaymakers returning from hot spots over the festive season pose a risk.

So what does that mean for you as an employer? Is it compulsory for your employees who return from a hot spot to  quarantine prior to reporting for duty at the workplace? And what are the remuneration do’s and don’ts for those employees in self-quarantine?

Social distancing, the correct PPE and meticulous hygiene regulations are critical to ensure the safety of employees but there are now new procedural issues to consider pertaining to this new wave such as correct procedures for employees returning from a hot spot and ensuring records of infected employees are kept updated as part of accurate tracking and tracing purposes.

How should employees use their sick leave and/or annual leave in the event of being unable to work?  Where an employee is able to work from home while quarantining are they entitled to their full salary?  What about those cases where an employee is unable to work from home – can they make use of their sick/annual leave for the quarantine period as they would do in the event of being ill historically? Should an employee exhaust their annual leave, does the principle of no work no pay apply and will the employee be placed on unpaid leave?

All of these questions and more will need to be handled with compassion and according to specific regulations.

Employers will need to comply with obligations in terms of the Alert Level 3 Regulations and be armed with the necessary advice and support in relation to the recommencement of work in 2021.

Media reports about virus mutations and the increasing number of infections and deaths continue to leave employees feeling anxious and scared. Now more than ever, employers need to practice empathy towards employees and look at flexible work arrangements and mental health support.

Creating a one size fits all solution isn’t always possible or feasible – so make sure that you are looking at your business and employees needs holistically when planning how best to facilitate your back to work process.

Q&A to assist with back to work safety protocols

Is it compulsory for employees who have returned from a hot spot to quarantine before returning to the office?

  • Yes it is compulsory to ensure that your employees returning from a hot spot self-quarantine for 10 days

How should employees use their sick leave and/or annual leave in the event of being unable to work? 

  • Employees are entitled to use their annual leave for the quarantine period. In the event that the employee’s annual leave is exhausted the principle of “no work no pay” shall apply which means that the employee will not be paid during the quarantine period, should remote work not be operationally possible.

Where an employee is able to work from home while quarantining are they entitled to their full salary? 

  • Yes, the employee shall be entitled to their full salary should it be possible for them to perform their work functions remotely.

In cases where an employee is unable to work from home, can they make use of their sick/annual leave for the quarantine period as they would do in the event of being ill historically?

  • In the event of being sick from Covid-19,   the employee is certainly entitled to make use of their sick leave. However in a scenario where the employee is unable to work remotely but must quarantine following their return from a hot-spot area – but is not sick, employees are then only allowed to make use of their annual leave and not sick leave to quarantine. Should the employee’s annual leave be exhausted they will not be entitled to payment of their salary for the duration of the quarantine period.

Should an employee exhaust their annual leave, does the principle of no work no pay apply, and will the employee be placed on unpaid leave?

  • Yes, unfortunately for the employee this will be the case 

Should you have any further questions, please do not hesitate to get in touch with us.

How to manage your staff over the festive season 1024 682 HR Studio

How to manage your staff over the festive season

Risha Singh, Industrial Relations Specialist Consultant at HR Studio explains how best to manage staffing issues at this time of year

It’s that time of the year when the festive season is just around the corner. As employers we understand that it has been a tough year and everyone is looking forward to a break. But with that said, we expect our teams to give one final push over the next 2-3 weeks. It is important to manage staffing properly in order to avoid problems.


While we hope you won’t have to deal with any pre festive disciplinary issues, the reality is that issues such as late arrival for duty, absenteeism and alcohol related offences are common during this period. Here are some tips on how to best manage these situations – however please don’t hesitate to get in touch with us if you need additional support or guidance.

Absenteeism – refers to an employee that is habitually and frequently absent from work – common in the build up to the festive season. While it is so tempting to pull a sickie – like the day after the office year end function, this is considered a minor offense and cause for a warning. If this behaviour becomes consistent it could result in a disciplinary hearing – which no one really wants to deal with in the build up to the holidays!


In the event employees stay away for days on end without notification, this can be considered as desertion. And In the event an employee has been away for 5 consecutive days without making contact, a letter via registered post should be sent to the employee- to which failure to respond can be regarded as sufficient proof of desertion.

Alcohol related offenses are also common over this period and need to be handled carefully. If you suspect that an employee is under the influence of alcohol because they appear disorientated or you can smell alcohol on the employee’s breath, you have the option to breathalyse the employee, following their consent and proper procedure. If you don’t have a breathalyser, an alcohol observation report may be completed. If the person is indeed under the influence, the best approach would be to send them home and initiate disciplinary proceedings upon their return.


If you want to be more proactive at this time of the year, there are proven ways for  businesses to keep absenteeism among their employees down to a minimum. Starting with a positive company culture and personal engagement between businesses and staff – which HR Studio can help you implement to ensure that the holiday season begins on a festive foot as opposed to a festive fall.