5 months ago
-  ~ 

Ayanda* is confused. Every month when she gets her payslip, there are unexplained deductions from her salary that don’t show up on her payslip. She decided to ask her boss about the deductions, and he told her to “stop being clever” and just leave it like the rest of the employees. Now she doesn’t know what to do – surely her employer can’t just ignore her?  

Scorpion Legal Protection’s advice

According to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), employers may not deduct money from an employee’s pay unless the employee agrees in writing to the deduction of a debt, or the deduction is made in terms of a collective agreement or law (e.g. UIF contributions), court order or arbitration award.

By law, employers must give workers the following information in writing when they are paid:· Employer’s name and address· Worker’s name and occupation· Period for which payment is made· Total salary or wages· Any deductions· The actual amount paid

In the case of damage or loss caused by the employee, for example if you’ve broken something, deductions may only be made if the employer has followed a fair procedure and given the employee a chance to show why the deduction should not be made;the employee agrees in writing; and the total deduction is not more than 25% of the employee’s net pay.

Deductions that an employer may legally make include:

· Tax from an employee’s salary to pay the South African Revenue Services (SARS);· A contribution to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF);· Union subscriptions in line with a stop order signed by the employee, which is paid over to the union;· Medical aid and retirement fund contributions, if it is in the employer’s employment contract. The employer pays these amounts to the fund;· Deductions in terms of a written agreement with the employee to pay back a debt. For example to pay back a loan;· Deductions in terms of a garnishee order; or· If the employee was overpaid in error

Ayanda can lodge a complaint with a labour inspector at the Department of Labour (DOL). The DOL will investigate the complaint, and decide what needs to be done. If they find that the employer does owe Ayanda money, the inspector will then issue her employer with an instruction to pay by a certain date. 

Tips· An employee must give his or her consent before a deduction may be made from their salary· You have the right to demand a payslip from your employer according to the law

If you have a query, follow us on our Facebook page and ask your question during our Live Q&A (every first Thursday of the month).

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

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