Is your service provider a professional employment agency?

August 5, 2022

By Grant Pepler, Director, Pple Healthcare

It’s often difficult for businesses to identify employment agencies that are fully registered and offer a professional service because the market includes informal and unregistered agencies, with only a select few providing a fully professional service.

This article is intended to enable HR staff, nursing managers, and hospitals, to identify professional staffing companies that can be verified through documentation.

Employment agencies in South Africa are legally required to be registered with the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL) as a Private Employment Agency (PEA) for gain, or as a Temporary Employment Service (TES). This can readily be verified by referring to the agency’s PEA certificate that will have be numbered in the following format ‘PEA_20yymmddxxxx’.

This PEA licence is obtained on the basis of the adjudication committee scrutinising information supplied in the application and is always subject to a DEL site inspection that includes an annual labour, and health & safety inspection. The licence is only valid for a period of one year and requires the PEA or TES to maintain a ‘good standing’ status with the SA Revenue Service (SARS), Compensation Fund (COID), and Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

This all goes to show that registering and maintaining registration as an employment agency in South Africa is not only highly regulated, but also requires a strong, professional administrative, finance and payroll management team in order to retain the licence.

Further to this, making sure that your PEA or TES service provider has a valid PEA certificate can also mean that the temporary employees that you take on are properly contracted, paid above the minimum wage, paid in accordance with statutory rates, have access to the Compensation Fund when injured on duty, and have access to UIF when not employed.

However, just having the minimum requirement of a valid PEA Certificate in the highly specialised healthcare industry can never be sufficient grounds for contracting or continued use of a PEA or TES service provider.

Various high-impact risk factors that need to be mitigated before commissioning a healthcare employment agency include:

• The public liability cover of the agency
• Medical malpractice cover of its healthcare temporary workers
• Recruitment and vetting processes
• POPIA and data protection considerations
• Disaster recovery
• Mitigation plans

These are just some of the high-level considerations that should be taken under advisement before contracting an agency.

It is also advisable not to position pricing as the main deciding factor when selecting an employment agency. Agencies providing cut-price services are often not committed to best-quality service, or to ensuring that the calibre of their staff is up to the high standards of your healthcare facility. This clearly will not serve the interests of your hospital, clinic, pharmacy, practice, or of your patients.

This article is proudly brought to you by Pple Healthcare – market leader in compliant healthcare agency services. If you are looking for a fully compliant and industry leading professional employment agency that specialises in quality healthcare staffing, contact Pple Healthcare in Cape Town at 021 853 8879 or