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Public Holidays during Annual Leave

Public Holidays during Annual Leave

Is an employee entitled to an extra day’s leave if a public holiday falls on a Saturday during the employee’s leave?

What if the employee demands that he be given an extra day’s leave or he threatens to refer an unfair labour practice dispute?

The answer to the question is NO! An employer does not have to grant the employee an extra day’s leave.

An employer must grant employees an additional day of paid annual leave if a public holiday falls on a day during an employee’s annual leave and if the employee would ordinarily have worked on that day (Chapter 3 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act).

Therefore, if the public holiday falls on a Saturday and the employee does not normally work on Saturdays, the employee should not be granted an extra day’s leave. If the public holiday falls on a week day that the employee normally works, then the employee is entitled to an extra day’s leave.

Remember: An employer must pay employees during the period of leave. Annual leave pay is calculated at the employee’s normal rate of remuneration immediately before the beginning of the annual leave period. Remuneration includes more than just the employee’s salary. It includes other payments such as commissions, certain allowances and other amounts. In short, an employee may not be paid less just because he has taken leave.

NOTE: It must be pointed out that the remuneration paid to an employee on annual leave must not include overtime pay if the employee normally works overtime. The employee is on leave and is not working the overtime while he is on leave. Overtime is authorised by the employer and only paid if an employee works the overtime.