5 months ago
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Mpitse* works as a personal assistant and was excited for December because he could finally have a day off and spend some good quality time with his family. His boss then told him that they are keeping the company open throughout the festive season and that he needed Mpitse to work on Christmas Day.

Mpitse tried to reason with his employer, but no matter what he said, his boss refused to change his mind – Mpitse must work Christmas. AZIKHIPHI! That’s not on! Can Mpitse’s boss do this? What does the law say? Scorpion Legal Protection discusses public holidays and leave. 

Scorpion Legal Protection’s adviceThe first step is to look at Mpitse’s contract of employment. No employee can be forced to work on a public holiday unless public holidays are part of their normal working day and employment contract, for example nurses and police officers.

An employee can never be forced to do anything that does not form part of his/her contract of employment.

If the employer and the employee come to an agreement that the employee is available to work on Christmas Day, then Section 18 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act must apply with regard to the wages paid – for instance, double pay for working on a public holiday or an agreement to take another working day off.

The official public holidays are: · New Year’s Day (1 January)· Human Rights Day (21 March) · Good Friday (19 April 2019)· Family Day (22 April 2019)· Freedom Day (27 April) · Workers’ Day (1 May) · Youth Day (16 June)· National Women’s Day (9 August)· Heritage Day (24 September)· Day of Reconciliation (16 December)· Christmas Day (25 December) · Day of Goodwill (26 December)

Tips· The conditions in Section 18 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) apply to ALL employees – permanent employees, temporary employees, fixed-term contract employees, independent contractor employees, project-employed employees, employees on basic salary, employees on basic salary plus commission and employees earning commission only. · No employer can force an employee to work on a public holiday unless it is part of their employment contract.

If you have a query, follow us on our Facebook page and ask your question during our next Live Q&A on 10 January 2019.

* This is only basic advice and cannot be relied on solely. Names have been changed to protect identity.

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