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South Africa has 12 public holidays annually, so it’s no surprise that the issue of working on these days – and getting paid fairly for it – comes up regularly. Here’s what South African labour law has to say.
Legislation like the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) has been put in place to protect workers, but there are certain workers it does not cover. Chapter Two, which covers public holiday work, specifically does not apply to:
If the public holiday falls on a day you would normally have worked, and you do not work, you must still be paid your full wages for not working that day. If you do work on the public holiday – either because you agree to this or because it’s part of your employment contract – then you must be paid at least double your regular wages.
If the public holiday falls on a day you would not normally work, eg you work Monday - Friday and the employer asks you to work on the Saturday, which is a public holiday, you must be paid double your regular wage for the hours you worked. The same goes for work on Sundays.
You must be paid for this work as part of your regular salary, at the same time as you receive your regular salary. You can also exchange working on the public holiday for a day off at another time, but this is up to you to decide with your employer and you cannot be forced into an agreement. A public holiday cannot be counted as annual leave.
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If you have a query, follow Scorpion Legal Protection on Facebook and ask your question during our next Live Q&A (every first Thursday of the month from 11:30- 13:30). *This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
* This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 9 June 2023
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