This is a preview. Log in to read the full article. Don't have a log-in?

Learn More Request a Demo

South Africa: Employee rights

Original and updating authors: Helen Wilsenach and Pascale Towers, Bowmans

See the legal services provided by the author of XpertHR International > South Africa, including any discounts/offers for subscribers.


  • There are various rules for employees' hours of work, including overtime and night work. (See Hours of work)
  • Employees are entitled to daily and weekly rest periods. (See Rest breaks and rest periods)
  • Subject to the terms of any individual or collective agreement on Sunday work, the employer must pay an employee who works on a Sunday at a premium rate. (See Sunday work)
  • There are various rules regarding minimum paid annual leave for employees and when it may be taken. (See Holiday and holiday pay)
  • Pregnant employees and new mothers have various rights. (See Maternity and pregnancy rights)
  • Employees have a statutory entitlement to parental, adoption and commissioning parental leave. (See Parental and paternity leave)
  • Qualifying employees are entitled to three days' paid "family responsibility" leave per year in respect of certain events, such as the illness of the employee's child or the death of a family member. (See Family responsibility leave)
  • Part-time employees are entitled to the protection against unfair dismissal and unfair labour practices afforded to all employees and from 1 January 2015 part-time employees earning below a specified amount have additional rights, including the right to be treated no less favourably than a comparable full-time employee, subject to certain exceptions. (See Part-time workers)
  • Employees on fixed-term contracts generally have the same employment law protections as employees on open-ended contracts and from 1 January 2015 fixed-term employees earning below a specified amount have additional rights, including the right to be treated no less favourably than a comparable employee on an open-ended contract, subject to certain exceptions. (See Fixed-term workers)
  • Temporary employment service employees have, from 1 January 2015, enhanced employment law protections and in certain circumstances will be deemed to be permanent employees of the client. (See Temporary agency workers)
  • An employer's health and safety obligations towards its employees may extend to the employee's home office if there is a remote working arrangement in place. (See Remote workers)
  • Employment contracts are automatically transferred from one employer to another where there is a transfer of a business as a going concern between these parties. (See Transfers of undertakings)
  • The employer's insolvency suspends the employment contract with immediate effect. (See Insolvency of employer)
  • An official "Code of good practice: dismissal" (issued under the Labour Relations Act) contains guidance on disciplinary procedures. (See Disciplinary procedures)
  • Both the common law,  the Constitution and legislation recognise the right to privacy. (See Data and privacy protection)