SA HR news roundup: Workforce mobility changes, increases in retrenchment claims and CNA CEO resigns

Workforce mobility policies adapt to the pandemic, while retrenchment and mortality claims are on the rise.

The main economic hubs record high levels of retrenchment claims during the latter part of 2020. Resignation confusion for CNA CEO and workforce mobility policies continue to adapt to the new normal

Workforce mobility is changing
Covid-19 restrictions have severely affected the workforce, with a heightened effect on countries with high infection rates and new virus strains, that have been placed on 'red' or 'high alert' lists.

Such restrictions have resulted in substantial changes to how South African employers work with employees who are currently based in other countries and unable to enter the country.

A recent PWC survey of 250 global business leaders found that attitudes around workforce mobility are changing, with many more businesses enabling flexible working. The report noted that around 50 percent of the companies surveyed now allowed international employees who were unable to travel, to continue working in their home countries remotely.

A third of respondents would focus on their workforce mobility programmes to allow international remote workers, who have been unable to move to other countries to take up offers of new employment, to begin or continue their employment where they are currently based.

Harsh retrenchment reality
There has been a significant increase in retrenchment and mortality claims since the start of Covid-19 in April last year, according to claim statistics for 2020 released by Liberty.

Retrenchment claims peaked between August and October in 2020 on the back of a lag effect from the start of lockdown. During these three months, retrenchment claims peaked at over 60 per month, compared to just over 10 per month during January and February in the same year, showing the effects of the economic contraction at the start of the pandemic.

"This trend was expected given the harsh realities and subsequent impact on jobs because of the pandemic. The most impacted regions were, not surprisingly, the main economic hubs of Gauteng, the Western Cape and KwaZulu-Natal," said Kresantha Pillay, head of Liberty's flagship Lifestyle Protector solution.

CNA CEO resigns
CNA has confirmed that CEO Benjamin Trisk, who is also a minority shareholder in the group, left the company last week after resigning a month ago.

According to the board, Trisk resigned on 19 April and served one month’s notice however Trisk has denied that he has resigned and would not comment further.

It has been reported that the management team of CNA, which is in severe financial trouble, was at loggerheads with Trisk after he allegedly approached multiple business rescue practitioners without their consent.