‘Overtime pay out of sync’

2014-12-12 00:00

THE apparent flouting of employment legislation when it comes to staff claiming for overtime took centre stage at the KZN Provincial Legislature yesterday.

Chairperson of the Standing Committee on Oversight Nontembeko Boyce presented the Mid-year Performance on the 2014/2015 Budget of the Provincial Legislature.

She called for tighter measures to be put in place when it comes to claiming and paying overtime to staff working at Legislature.

She said various adjustments had been made to the budget in the first half of the year, resulting in the legislature’s budget decreasing from R491 186 million to R485 776 million.

Boyce noted with great concern the huge amount of overtime that had been paid to individual staff.

“The conditions of service for staff which provides for knocking off at 2 pm on Fridays is out of sync with the rest of the public sector,” said Boyce.

An accounting officer has been tasked with reviewing the overtime policy and to ensure that it is in line with the provisions of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

“Staff should not work more than the maximum allowed of 10 hours [overtime] a week. The accounting officer needs to engage with the unions and ensure alignment with the public sector,” said the Boyce.

It emerged yesterday that in January 2013 a committee secretariat official worked 33 hours overtime at a cost of R14 000. In April the same employee worked 40 hours overtime and claimed R16 000.

“The cherry on top was a research staff member who claimed 70 hours overtime at a cost of R25 000 in September 2013. That is more than three hours of extra time a day every working day in a month,” said DA chief whip Mark Steele.

Steele said in the last financial year R2,2 million was spent on overtime alone and he feared that the number could increase this financial year.

“The problem is not with the officials who are making these claims but with the supervisors who are approving it,” said Steele.

The ANC’s Vusi Dube said the allowances on overtime were worrying.

“The Office of the Speaker should not be using overtime because there should be enough staff.

“We can’t have one person claiming R25 000 in one month and R55 000 the other,” said Dube.

The IFP’s Blessed Gwala said: “This is unacceptable. The issue of overtime needs to be rectified urgently.”

The EFF’s Vusi Khoza called on the legislature to spend money wisely.

“We need to stop spending money on nice-to-haves. Questions are being raised on spending on lavish events. The KZN Legislature should be leading tax payers on how public funds should be managed,” said Khoza.

• amanda.khoza@witness.co.za

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