Employee and Recruitment

Annual Leave in South Africa

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Basic Conditions of Employment legislation requires that workers get a minimum of 21 consecutive days of annual leave in South Africa each year.  Employers can only pay workers instead of granting annual leave when employment is terminated.


The Basic Conditions of Employment Act applies to all employers and workers, but not -members of the –

  • National Defence Force,
  • National Intelligence Agency, or
  • South African Secret Service; or
  • unpaid volunteers working for charity.

The section of the Act that regulate working hours does not apply to:

  • workers in senior management
  • sales staff who travel and regulate their own working hours
  • workers who work less than 24 hours in a month
  • workers who earn more than R115 572 per year
  • workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions.

The provisions for annual leave in South Africa do not apply to –

  • workers who work less than 24 hours a month
  • leave over and above that provided for by the Act


Applies to all employers and workers and regulates leave, working hours, employment contracts, deductions, pay slips, and termination
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  1. How do you go about administrating/controlling the leave for an organisation. For instance, if the company policy is to be able to accumulate up to a maximum of 30 days annual leave – does that employee’s leave cycle start on date of employment or the general leave cycle date for auditing purposes? And can that employee forfeit those leave days, or is there a specific process that needs to be followed?

  2. Interesting article. Having 21 consecutive days would be an amazing concept. I wish this was practiced in the U.S.

  3. Can an employer force an employee to take unpaid annual leave just because the company is closed during that time and the employee has only been there 2 months and does not have leave accumulated?Would really appreciate a reply asap!thanks!

  4. For a number of people, the weekly paycheck is ‘take-home pay’ because home is the one place they could manage to choose it.
    Usually do not trust people. These are effective at greatness.

  5. sarmashni naidu Reply

    please advise how many days leave staff are entitled to from year one onwards of employment . DOes it vary for every year worked and where is it capped

  6. Good day

    Please can someone advice on a couple of questions I have:

    Can a company deduct tax of my salary if the company is not registered for tax?

    I have accumulate 15 leave days from 2010 up to 2012, when I spoke to the owner he said that it is company policy that leave days are not carried over. Can he do it?

    I have been working for the company from 2009 up to now and don’t have a contract.


  7. can we take 20day leave after 5 years employment, Please state the law details

  8. Laverne Evon Reply

    Good day .

    Could someone advise me. I’ve resigned from my company and havent taken leave foe full year ive been here.

    They are refusing to pay my leave out with this months salary . And also saying the need to work it out . What there be to work out when i havent taken leave.

    What can i do and how many days do u get for a year?

    Thank you

  9. Mike van Rooyen Reply

    How many days leave can an employee lawfully accumulate over a few years

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