Home Page ->
Legal Articles -> Changing working hours verbally
Welcome to Scorpion’s Legal Tips! Every week we’ll share stories of injustice and show you how you can strike back legally.
Employers sometimes think they can change employees’ working hours if they want to without discussing it with the employees first. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Scorpion Legal Protection explains why you have to be given notice to change your working hours, why both parties must agree on the changes and which labour laws apply.
Working hours can only be changed if both the employer and the employee agree on it. No employer is allowed to make changes to an employee’s contract without their agreement, this is called unilateral changes (one-sided changes) and it’s against the law. Any changes to conditions of employment must be negotiated and agreed on by both the employer and the employee. Your employer cannot just say that your working hours are being changed.
This is because of the very simple reason that a contract of employment is an agreement between two people, and one party to the agreement cannot change the terms of that agreement without the consent of the other party. To do so would mean the party making the changes is in breach of contract. It’s advisable to get these changes in writing.
The BCEA and working hours
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) states that employers cannot ask employees to work more than 45 hours in any week. Also, employees cannot work more than 9 hours a day if they work for 5 days or less in a week, or 8 hours in any day if they work more than 5 days in a week.
Section 9(2) of the BCEA does say though that an employee’s ordinary hours of work can be extended (by agreement) by up to 15 minutes in a day but not more than 60 minutes. This is for employees whose duties include serving members of the public and who may need to continue performing these duties after ordinary working hours.
If you find yourself in a situation where your employer has made unfair and unilateral changes to your working hours, you can refer the matter to the CCMA. For a step-by-step guide on going to the CCMA, click here.
View National Gazette No. 43763 here
You may also be interested in:
Step-by-step guide on going to the CCMA
3 must-know tips for CCMA arbitration
Can employers demote you to save money?
If you have a query, follow us on Facebook and ask your question during our next Live Q&A (the first Thursday of every month).
* This is only basic advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing
Date added: 27 October 2020
If you prefer to leave us an online query, please complete the form below and we will call you back.
Please select an enquiry type
Membership card / policy update query
Income Tax query
Last will & testament
Please select a complaint type
Poor service/Rude staff