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South Africa: Employee rights

Original and updating author: Helen Wilsenach, Bowman Gilfillan

Consultant editor: Mairéad Edwards, Tabacks

Summary

  • There are various rules for employees' hours of work, including overtime and night work. (See Hours of work)
  • Employees are entitled to daily and weekly rest periods. (See Rest breaks and rest periods)
  • Subject to the terms of any individual or collective agreement on Sunday work, the employer must pay an employee who works on a Sunday at a premium rate. (See Sunday work)
  • There are various rules regarding minimum paid annual leave for employees and when it may be taken. (See Holiday and holiday pay)
  • Pregnant employees and new mothers have various rights. (See Maternity and pregnancy rights)
  • Employees have no statutory entitlement to parental or paternity leave (except short periods of "family responsibility" leave). (See Parental and paternity leave)
  • Qualifying employees are entitled to three days' paid "family responsibility" leave per year in respect of certain events, such as the birth of the employee's child. (See Family responsibility leave)
  • Part-time employees are entitled to the protection against unfair dismissal and unfair labour practices afforded to all employees and from 1 January 2015 part-time employees earning below a specified amount have additional rights, including the right to be treated no less favourably than a comparable full-time employee, subject to certain exceptions. (See Part-time workers)
  • Employees on fixed-term contracts generally have the same employment law protections as employees on open-ended contracts and from 1 January 2015 fixed-term employees earning below a specified amount have additional rights, including the right to be treated no less favourably than a comparable employee on an open-ended contract, subject to certain exceptions. (See Fixed-term workers)
  • Temporary employment service employees have, from 1 January 2015, enhanced employment law protections and in certain circumstances will be deemed to be permanent employees of the client. (See Temporary agency workers)
  • Employment contracts are automatically transferred from one employer to another where there is a transfer of a business as a going concern between these parties. (See Transfers of undertakings)
  • The employer's insolvency suspends the employment contract with immediate effect. (See Insolvency of employer)
  • An official "Code of good practice: dismissal" (issued under the Labour Relations Act) contains guidance on disciplinary procedures. (See Disciplinary procedures)
  • Both the common law and the Constitution recognise the right to privacy. (See Data and privacy protection)