Labour Law Consultants in South Africa

Answers to Questions About Employment Conditions in South Africa

To avoid labour disputes, fines and getting on the wrong side of the law, we strongly recommend making use of experienced labour law attorneys or consultants in South Africa to help with the setting up of employment contracts, assist with disciplinary actions, handle disputes, and ensure compliance with all the laws. If you are an employee, it is imperative to be familiar with your rights and if you feel that a dismissal was unfair, or you have called your employer’s attention to their non-compliance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act or the Labour Relations Act without the employer taking the necessary corrective steps, you should also make use of labour law consultants in South Africa or labour law attorneys such as Allardyce & Partners to help you take legal action.

We have answered a few of the questions regarding work hours, probation periods, and like below to help employers and employees alike in becoming familiar with the requirements of the law.

What is the maximum allowable probation period?

The law does not state a minimum or maximum employment probation period. It is a period in which the employer assesses the employee’s performance in order to decide whether or not to appoint the employee. As such, it should be a reasonable period. This period must be stipulated in the employment agreement. Should the employer find the worker unsuitable for the position based on performance, the employer must provide the reasons and should also provide instruction and guidance to help the worker improve on their performance if the probation period is prolonged.

What is the procedure for dismissal during or just after the probation period?

The employer cannot simply dismiss the employee without investigating the reasons and the extent to which the employee has not performed according to the requirements of the employer. The employer must first consider other means of improving the performance, such as by extending the probation period and providing more training before dismissing the employee. The normal dismissal procedures must be followed according to the requirements of the law. If you are unsure about the correct procedures or whether they have been followed, contact labour law attorneys or consultants familiar with the employment laws of South Africa.

What are the maximum normal work hours that an employer can expect an employee to work per week?

If the employee works a 5-day week, the maximum normal work hours are 45 hours and for a 6-day week, the maximum work hours come to 40 hours. An employer can expect an employee to work 12 hours a day if the employee has a shortened work week. The maximum normal work hours per day for a 5-day week are 8 hours a day. If the lunch hour is added, the total comes to 9 hours a day. The employment contract should stipulate the normal work hours per week and per day.

How many overtime hours are allowed per week?

Overtime hours are voluntary. The employer cannot expect an employee to work more than 10 hours overtime per work week. The maximum allowable overtime per day comes to 3 hours.

What is the rate at which overtime should be paid?

The rate is calculated at 1,5 times the normal pay. For public holidays or Sundays, the rate is double the normal pay. The employer can, however, if so agreed in the employment contract, give time off in return for work on Sunday or a public holiday or overtime, instead of the overtime pay.

Get answers to your questions about labour or employment issues in South Africa. Contact our labour law team at or on 011 234 2125.


NB: This article is for information purposes only and does not constitute legal advice. You are advised to consult with us before using/relying on this information.

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