SA Labour Law and Rights of the Employee within the Hospitality Industry
SA labour law covers all economic sectors, including the hospitality industry. If you work within the industry it is essential that you become familiar with the labour laws governing the industry to protect you as employee against exploitation.
Many workers within the hospitality industry, especially waiters and bartenders, are not aware of the minimum wages for their particular positions. They work exceptionally long hours and are often not even offered employment contracts. This is especially true when it comes to employers with fewer than 10 employees.
Irrespective of whether you work in a small restaurant or at a large chain hotel, your employer must, according to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, provide you with a written employment contract. This contract should stipulate your salary, payment dates, basic job description, leave days and overtime.
The Sectoral Determination for minimum wage applicable to the hospitality industry until 30 June 30 2016 for employers with 10 or fewer employees sets the minimum wage at:
- Monthly – R2760.59
- Weekly – R637.10
- Hourly – R14.15
For employers with 10 or more employees in the industry, the minimum wages applicable until 30 June 2016 have been set at:
- Monthly – R3076.98
- Weekly – R710.12
- Hourly – R15.77
Note that the Hospitality Sectoral determination doesn’t include employers or employees who are involved in the trading or letting of accommodation, rooms, houses or flats. It also doesn’t include any employers or employees that are covered under SA labour law in another sectoral determination as stipulated in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act or those covered by a Bargaining or Statutory Council.
You furthermore have the right not to be retaliated against for demanding the recognition and respect of your employee rights under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The law provides for a maximum of 12 hours overtime a week, except for travelling sales people, employees that work fewer than 24 hours in a month or senior managers. It is, however, possible for the employer to make provision for an extended weekend by means of a 12-hour work day week.
If your employer requires you to work night shifts, then the employer must inform you about the health and/or safety risks associated with shift working. You should also be compensated accordingly to attend medical assessments on a regular basis.
The employer must supply you with a minimum period of four weeks’ notice of termination of your contract should you have worked at the same employer for 12 months or more.
You have the right to family responsibility leave should you need to attend to a sick child or attend to the arrangements if a loved one such as your parent, spouse, grandparent, brother, sister, child or grandchild passes away. Should you be dismissed you have the right to oppose the dismissal according to the provisions of SA labour law.
Normal working hours, except for senior managers, travelling sales people, and employees working under 24 hours monthly are set at no more than 45 hours in a work week and 9 hours per day where you work 5 or fewer days in the work week. If you work more than 5 days in a week then your employer may not require you to work more than 8 hours per day.
Understandably you may avoid confronting your employer about the extra-long work hours, few days off and low salary because you fear being dismissed. However, should the employer dismiss you for demanding your employee rights according to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, you have the right to take legal action or to approach the CCMA for assistance.
Contact the Allardyce & Partners attorneys at firstname.lastname@example.org or on 011 234 2125 for legal guidance regarding your rights as an employee within the hospitality sector.
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.