Labour Laws

How Does Labour Laws Protect You as an Employee?

The labour laws of South Africa are in place to protect the rights of the employee and the employer. However, to benefit from the protection of the labour laws, you must make sure that you know which laws govern your specific industry and employment type. To help you understand this a little bit better, we look at the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the Labour Relations Act…

Employer Deducting Money from Your Salary

The employer may not make a deduction from your wages unless you agree to it in writing and the deduction is done according the requirements of the law, such as for your tax payments to SARS and your UIF contributions and pension fund, or in accordance with a court order, a collective agreement or an arbitration award.

However, the employer can deduct money from your salary or wages for loss and damage if such occurred during your employment and you caused the loss or damage. The employer must follow fair procedures regarding such deductions and must give you an opportunity to show why the employer shouldn’t deduct the money. The employer may not deduct more money from your salary or wages than a quarter of your total remuneration and it is also imperative that the debt may not be more than the loss or damage cost.

What Your Payslip Must Include

The employer must issue you with a payslip that contains the employer’s name, the address of the employer, your name and job title, your remuneration, the period for which you receive payment, and the amount and reason for deductions, as well as the Nett amount that you receive after deductions.

Where relevant, your normal pay rate, as well as overtime pay rate must be indicated. The payslip should furthermore include the total number of normal work hours and the total number of overtime hours that you have worked during the specific payment period. If an averaging agreement is in place, the payslip should include the total number of the normal and overtime hours that you have worked during the period related to averaging.

Notice Period and Specifications

The notice period for termination of employment according to the labour laws of the country is one week if you have been employed at the same employer for a period not exceeding four weeks and two weeks if you have been employed at the same employer for more than four weeks and under one year. Where you have been employed by the same employer for a period of 12 months or more, the employer must provide you with four weeks’ notice in written form.

The above being said, the employer can provide you with payment for the period, which you should have worked if notice was given. If you stay in accommodation provided by the employer, the employer must provide you with 30 days’ notice of termination of employment or provide you with alternative accommodation until the lawful ending of the employment period. You have the right to challenge the dismissal in accordance with the requirements of the labour laws of the country.

Termination of Employment

Your employer must give you at least one week’s severance pay for every 12 months of ongoing employment if you are dismissed for operational reasons. You have the right to refer the dismissal to the CCMA for a decision should the employer fail to comply with the severance pay requirements. Irrespective of the reason for termination of employment, the employer should provide you with a certificate of service for the period you have been employed. Note that the employer should follow the correct procedures for dismissal and the dismissal must be for a valid reason. Should such not be the case, you have the right to approach the CCMA within 30 days for resolution of the issue.

Job Description

You have the right to receive a job description outlining the job title and the conditions of the employment. The employer must keep a record of the time you have worked, the remuneration you have received and your full name, in addition to the job that you performed. If you are under 18, the employer must also keep record of your birth date.

Contact the Allardyce & Partners attorneys at or on 011 234 2125 for legal guidance and assistance regarding your rights as employee and relevant aspects of labour laws in South Africa.


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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