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Regulated Flexibility and Small Business: Revisiting the LRA and the BCEA


  • Halton Cheadle

    () (Faculty of Law, University of Cape Town)


The object of the paper is to identify the conceptual underpinnings of the labour law reforms of the 1990s, particularly the concept of regulated flexibility, and the changes to the labour market since then in order to review the performance of those reforms and to propose changes to more appropriately regulate that market. The main argument made in this paper is that the concept of regulated flexibility may be put to good use in extending protection to those who most need it and limiting intervention, particularly judicial intervention, where there is no appreciable gain in protection. The paper reviews the regulation each of the standard incidents of the employment relationship, from recruitment to termination, and finds that much of this regulation (in the form of an unfair labour practice remedy) escaped careful scrutiny in the reform process in the 1990s. The unfair labour practice remedy has, for the most part, become a charter of rights for middle and senior management while the most vulnerable workers are left without protection. Rather than intensifying regulation, labour law reform should be setting its sights on the extension of protection to those who most need it, namely employees in atypical employment. The paper makes various proposals to fine-tune the legal regulation of the labour market, in particular removing unnecessary regulation in the form of judicial interference in the employment relation and extending legislative protection to the most vulnerable.

Suggested Citation

  • Halton Cheadle, 2006. "Regulated Flexibility and Small Business: Revisiting the LRA and the BCEA," Working Papers 06109, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
  • Handle: RePEc:ctw:wpaper:06109

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    Cited by:

    1. Haroon Bhorat & Halton Cheadle, 2009. "Labour Reform in South Africa: Measuring Regulation and a Synthesis of Policy Suggestions," Working Papers 09139, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    2. Haroon Bhorat, 2012. "A Nation in Search of Jobs: Six Possible Policy Suggestions for Employment Creation in South Africa," Working Papers 12150, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.
    3. Haroon Bhorat & Carlene van der Westhuizen, 2009. "A Synthesis of Current Issues in the Labour Regulatory Environment," Working Papers 09136, University of Cape Town, Development Policy Research Unit.

    More about this item


    South Africa: SMMEs; Regulating flexibility and Small Business. LRA; BCEA;

    JEL classification:

    • A1 - General Economics and Teaching - - General Economics


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