All about annual leave

  • The provisions in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act that apply to annual leave do not apply to an employee who works less than 24 hours per month or to employees who earn above the earnings threshold laid down in the Act (currently as from 1 July 2014, R205 433.30 per annum);
  • Employees are entitled to 21 consecutive days annual leave on full remuneration, in respect of each annual leave cycle;
  • If an employee works a five-day week, this is equal to 15 working days (or 1,25 days per month);
  • If the employee works a six-day week, this is equal to 18 working days (or 1,5 days per month);
  • Working days exclude public holidays. Whilst an employee is on annual leave, and a public holiday falls on a day on which the employee would ordinarily work, then the employee is entitled to an extra day annual leave for each such public holiday.
  • For temporary employees, or fixed term employees, the parties may agree that annual leave may be calculated on the basis of 1 hour of annual leave on full remuneration for every 17 hours (alternatively 1 day annual leave on full remuneration for every 17 days) on which the employee worked or was entitled to be paid;
  • The employee is entitled to take whatever leave he has accumulated in an annual leave cycle, on consecutive days. If an employee does not take a portion of leave during an annual leave cycle, the leave is automatically carried over to the next annual leave cycle, unless the parties agree otherwise. An employee can demand to take the carried over leave if he or she has still not taken his annual leave from the previous cycle within six months of the new cycle, and the employer may not refuse such permission.
  • If an employee is on annual leave and falls ill during that period, if she produces a doctor’s certificate that she was unfit for work during that time, she is entitled to additional annual leave for each such day. What this means is that the employer must credit that employee’s annual leave with the number of days sick leave, and debit the employee’s sick leave.
  • The employer may not force an employee to take annual leave during any period of notice, and the employee is prohibited from taking annual leave during any period of notice.
  • Absent an agreement between employer and employee as to when annual leave can be taken, it is taken at a time to suit the employer. Many employers have a shutdown period over December. If this is the case, the employer is entitled to stipulate that annual leave must be taken to coincide with the shutdown period. Should an employee utilize his annual leave at another time during the year, then the shutdown period will be treated as unpaid leave.
  • An employee can’t take cash in lieu of annual leave except upon termination of employment.

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