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What Is A Labour Broker?

Quick Summary

A labour broker, also known as a Temporary Employment Service, is a person or company that provides temporary workers to client companies. They handle administrative tasks such as payroll and taxes, offering flexibility and cost reduction for client companies. It is important to understand that labourers working through labour brokers remain employees of the labour broker, not the client company.


A labour broker, also known as a Temporary Employment Service (TES), is an individual or company that provides temporary workers to client companies. These workers are employed by the labour broker and work at the client’s site. The concept of using a labour broker has gained popularity in South Africa due to its flexibility and cost-saving benefits.

In this blog post, we will explore what exactly a labour broker is, their role in providing workers to client companies, the benefits of hiring through a labour broker, how exemption certificates play into this arrangement, common misconceptions about them, and answer some frequently asked questions regarding their operations.

Whether you’re considering utilizing the services of a TES or simply curious about how they operate within South African labor laws, this article aims to provide comprehensive information on all aspects related to Labour Brokers.

What is a Labour Broker?

A labour broker, also known as a Temporary Employment Service (TES), is an individual or company that specializes in providing temporary workers to client companies. These workers are employed by the labour broker and work at the client’s site under their supervision.

Role of a Labour Broker

The primary role of a labour broker is to act as an intermediary between job seekers and employers. They source suitable candidates for specific roles based on the requirements provided by their clients. This involves advertising vacancies, conducting interviews, performing background checks, and verifying qualifications or certifications.

Once selected, these individuals become employees of the labour broker rather than direct employees of the client company they will be working for. The responsibility for managing administrative tasks such as payroll processing, tax deductions, and leave administration falls upon the shoulders of the labour brokers themselves.

Benefits of Hiring through a Labour Broker

Labour brokers play a crucial role in meeting fluctuating staffing needs within organizations across various industries. By utilizing their services instead of directly hiring permanent staff members during peak periods or special projects, businesses can benefit from increased flexibility while reducing costs associated with recruitment processes like advertising positions and conducting extensive candidate screenings.

In addition to sourcing talent efficiently when needed most urgently, another advantage offered by using labor brokerage services lies in accessing well-trained personnel who have been thoroughly vetted before being assigned any assignments through rigorous screening procedures conducted beforehand ensuring only qualified professionals get placed into relevant positions where required skill sets match up accordingly without compromising quality standards set forth either internally among other factors considered important enough warranting attention too!

Overall Responsibilities of a Labour Broker

  1. Recruitment Process:
    • Advertising vacant positions
    • Conducting interviews
    • Performing background checks
  2. Administrative Tasks:
    • Payroll management
    • Tax compliance
    • Leave administration

By outsourcing these functions to experienced experts specializing specifically within this field ensures smooth operations throughout all stages involved, thereby allowing both parties concerned to focus more effectively towards achieving desired goals collectively together ultimately leading to success stories shared mutually benefiting everyone alike!

Benefits of Hiring through a Labour Broker

Flexibility in Workforce Management:

Hiring workers through a labour broker provides client companies with the flexibility to adjust their workforce according to fluctuating demands. Whether it’s seasonal peaks or temporary projects, labour brokers can quickly provide additional staff when needed and remove them once the workload decreases. This allows businesses to efficiently manage their resources without being burdened by long-term employment commitments.

Cost Reduction for Client Companies:

One of the significant advantages of hiring through a labour broker is cost reduction. By utilizing temporary workers from a labour broker, client companies can avoid expenses associated with permanent employees such as benefits, pensions, medical aid contributions, and leave pay. Additionally, there are savings on recruitment costs since the responsibility lies with the labour broker rather than conducting extensive hiring processes internally.

Access to Well-Trained and Screened Workers:

Labour brokers take pride in providing well-trained individuals who possess relevant skills required by client companies across various industries. These workers often undergo rigorous screening processes that include background checks and verification procedures before they are assigned any work assignments. As such, clients have peace of mind knowing that they will receive competent personnel capable of fulfilling job requirements effectively.

Administrative Tasks Handled by Labour Brokers:

When working with a labor brokering service provider, client organizations benefit from having administrative tasks related to these contracted employees handled externally. This includes payroll management, tax deductions, and compliance matters like UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund) registrations. By outsourcing these responsibilities, the company saves time, money, and effort while ensuring legal obligations are met accurately.

Note: The content provided above has not been reviewed or edited; please review thoroughly before publishing.

Exemption Certificate for Labour Brokers

Labour brokers in South Africa are required to apply for an exemption certificate from the South African Revenue Service (SARS). This certificate allows them to provide clients with individuals who will perform work or services on behalf of the client. Here is a breakdown of the process and requirements involved in obtaining an exemption certificate:

Process of applying for an exemption certificate:

  1. Complete application form: To apply for an exemption certificate, labour brokers must fill out a fully completed application form provided by SARS.
  2. Submit supporting documents: Along with the application form, certain supporting documents need to be submitted as well. These may include proof of registration as a labour broker, financial statements, tax clearance certificates, and any other relevant documentation requested by SARS.
  3. Application submission deadline: It is important to note that applications should be submitted at least two months before the expiry date of your current certification.

Deadline for submitting the application:

To ensure continuity in providing workers under their business operations without interruption due to expired certifications; it’s crucial that labour brokers submit their renewal applications within this timeframe specified above.

Replacement certificate procedure:

In case you lose your original exemption certificate, there is provision made available through SARS Head Office where you can request a replacement during its validity period. The replacement procedure typically involves completing specific forms and providing necessary information regarding why you require another copy.

Validity period of the certificate:

The exemption certificate is valid for one tax year.

abor broker. The labour broker is responsible for all administrative tasks related to the workers, including payroll, taxes, and leave administration. This arrangement allows for greater flexibility for both the labour broker and the client company.

3. Exceptions in terms of unfair dismissals:

Another misconception is that after three months of working through a labour broker, the worker is entitled to the same employment benefits and protections as permanent employees of the client company. However, this is not the case, except in terms of unfair dismissals. The labour broker remains responsible for handling any unfair dismissal claims or disputes that may arise.

4. Possibility of hiring temporary employees for longer periods with justifiable reasons:

Contrary to popular belief, temporary employees can be hired through a labour broker for periods longer than three months if there is a justifiable reason for a fixed-term contract. This could include project-based work, seasonal demands, or specific short-term assignments.

It is important for both client companies and temporary workers to understand the nature of labour broker arrangements to ensure compliance with labor laws and to protect the rights and interests of all parties involved.

Frequently Asked Questions

Question 1: What is the difference between a labour broker and a recruitment agency?

A labour broker differs from a recruitment agency in terms of their role and responsibilities. A labour broker provides temporary workers to client companies, while a recruitment agency focuses on finding permanent employees for organizations. Labour brokers are responsible for all administrative tasks related to the temporary workers they provide, such as payroll, taxes, and leave administration. On the other hand, recruitment agencies assist with sourcing candidates for full-time positions within client companies.

Question 2: Are labour brokers regulated by any laws?

Yes, labour brokers are regulated by various laws in South Africa. The main legislation governing this sector is the Labour Relations Act (LRA) along with its amendments over time. These regulations aim to protect both employers and employees involved in labor brokering arrangements.

Question 3: Can a labour broker provide permanent employees to client companies?

No, typically labor brokers do not provide permanent employees but rather focus on supplying temporary or contract-based staff members who work at client company sites under their employment arrangement.

However, it’s important to note that there have been instances where individuals employed through labor broking arrangements were deemed “de facto” or implied indefinite contracts after three months if certain conditions were met according to Section 198B(5)(a)-(c) of the LRA. This section deals with unfair dismissal claims when an employee earns less than R205,000 per annum, works more than twenty-four hours per month, and has worked longer than three months. It’s always advisable to consult legal professionals regarding specific circumstances surrounding your business operations.

Question 4: What are the tax implications for labour brokers?

Labour brokerage services fall under Value Added Tax (VAT). According to the SARS website, VAT must be charged at the standard rate unless zero-rated supplies apply.

In addition, income earned through providing these services will also be subject to normal corporate taxation rules. It is best practice to engage professional accountants familiar with the labor brokering industry to ensure compliance.

Question 5: How can a client company ensure the quality of workers provided by a labour broker?

To ensure the quality of workers provided by a labour broker, it is important for client companies to establish clear communication and expectations with the labour broker. This includes providing detailed job descriptions, required qualifications or skills, and any specific training requirements. Client companies should also request information from the labour broker regarding their recruitment process, screening procedures (such as background checks), and verification of worker credentials.

Additionally, client organizations may consider conducting regular performance evaluations or feedback sessions with temporary staff members supplied through labor brokers. This will help identify areas where improvements are needed while ensuring that high-quality standards are maintained throughout the employment period.


  1. https://www.sars.gov.za/businesses-and-employers/labour-brokers/
  2. https://measuredability.com/what-is-a-labour-broker/
  3. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Labour_brokering

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