Labour Law South Africa

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Worker Rights Regarding Payment of Wages in South Africa

Labour law in South Africa, and more specifically the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, stipulates what “wage” means. Accordingly, wage is the money payable or paid to an employee for ordinary hours of work, as agreed between employer and employee. Labour law protects workers against exploitation by employers and non-payment of wages. According to the Act, the wages can be calculated on a monthly, weekly, daily, or hourly basis and payment must be done within seven days after the specific wage period has been completed. The payment must be done in South African rand.

When must the employer pay?

The employee is entitled to receive due wages within 15 minutes of the start or end of the working day (thus during normal work hours). Payment must take place on the agreed day and it must be given to the employee at the place of work. Payment can be made directly to the bank account that the employee has provided. Payment of wages can also be in cash or by means of a cheque.

Can the employer force the employee to buy products or pay for services?

The employer may not require the employee to buy products or pay for services from the employer or a third party nominated by the employer. As such, the employer cannot deduct money from the wages for services rendered or products supplied and the employee is not under obligation to pay for such.

How is the wage calculated?

It is calculated according to the total number of work hours that the employee must normally work. To receive full salary, the employee must work a 45-hour week. This means that, if the employee works six days a week, they must work seven and a half hours per day, or if they work a 5-day week, they must work nine hours per day. To get to the monthly wage, the calculation is four and a third times the weekly pay. The formula is 4×4,33 = monthly wage.

When can the employer deduct money from the employee’s wages?

Only if the employee has given written permission to deduct money for reimbursement for damage or loss that the employer has suffered as the result of an action or failure to act on the part of the employee, or for a debt owed to the employer, or for deductions permitted or required by a South African law, or in compliance with a court order, collective agreement, or arbitration award, can deductions be made from the worker’s remuneration.

When should the employer provide the payslip?

The payslip must be provided during normal work hours at the place of employment and within 15 minutes of the start of the employee’s work day or within 15 minutes of the end of the employee’s work hours for the workday.

According to labour law in South Africa, what information should be included on the payslip?

The payslip must at least state the employer’s details and the employee’s name and position, the date of payment, remuneration in monetary value, deduction amount (and reason for the deduction), and the money that is actually paid to the employee. It should further include information, if relevant, related to overtime, the overtime rate, the number of work hours worked (and the overtime hours worked), number of hours worked on a public holiday, and the rate of overtime for this.

What can an employee do if the employer doesn’t pay on time, deducts money not allowed for, or doesn’t pay overtime?

If the employer fails to comply with any of the regulations according to the labour laws of the country, they are entitled to take the matter to the CCMA, the Department of Labour, a bargaining council or union, or initiate litigation against the employer, depending on the particular incident or non-compliance of the employer. We recommend getting legal advice on the above matters from attorneys experienced in South African labour law.

Contact us at or on (011) 234 2125 for professional legal advice regarding issues related to payment of wages.

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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