Annual leave

We get a lot of phone calls from employers on annual leave. How exactly does the calculation of annual leave work?  This blog post explains only the basics about annual leave. For a more thorough understanding of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, please email us on or call 060 897 8098. As mentioned, the part of the act dealing with annual leave is Chapter 3, sections 20 and 21 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, Act 75 of 1997.

According to this piece of legislation, annual leave does not apply to employees who work less than 24 hours per month for an employer. In terms of the Act, annual leave accrues to an employee. What does this mean? Well, in its simplest form it means each leave cycle starts at zero available days and the amount of leave days accrue at a certain rate per month as the year goes by. Leave accrues at the rate of one hour for every 17 hours worked, or one day for every 17 days worked, or 1,25 days per month.

The total permitted minimum being 15 working days per annum on full pay in each annual leave cycle or in each period of 12 months calculated from the date of employment. The act mentions 21 consecutive days. What does this mean? This simply means 15 working days per annum if the employee works a 5-day week. If you look at the calendar you will see that 21 consecutive days equals 15 working days (if the employee works from Monday to Friday).

But what if the employee works, say, 6 days a week? How do you calculate it then? Well, let’s apply the law. If the employee works Mondays to Saturdays (six days a week), count 21 consecutive days from the beginning of any month. Now calculate the amount of working days (Mondays to Saturdays) within that given 21 consecutive days. The answer will be 18. In other words the employee will be entitled to 18 days paid annual leave. As mentioned the act is not applicable to employees working less than 24 hours a month. This means that the so-called independent contractors and temporary workers are also entitled to annual leave. Things can get a little complicated when it comes to the accumulation of annual leave and the fact that leave must be granted within 6 months after the end of the annual leave cycle. Don’t hesitate to contact us for further information on this. It is advisable that all companies should have a formal leave policy. This policy should be clear on the employer’s rules and regulations on annual leave, such as annual shut down periods, sick leave, unpaid leave etc. Should you require any further information, please email or call 060 897 8098.

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