Am I due leave as a part-time employee?

With the emergence of remote and flexible work encouraging more part-time jobs in South Africa, you may be wondering how paid leave for part-time employees is calculated? We aim to clarify what the labour law says about the various types of leave available to you. 

The assumption in this article is that you are employed on a fixed-term part-time contract or a permanent part-time basis. 

How is annual leave for part-time employees calculated?

The Basic Conditions of the Employment Act (BCEA) states that for every 17 hours worked you will accrue an hour of leave, or one day’s leave for every 17 days worked. If you work an average of 21,67 days per month you will receive 15 leave days for every 12-month cycle, calculated from the start date of employment. When calculating your leave, public holidays will count towards the 17 days worked. Leave for part-time employees is calculated in the same way as full-time permanent staff. For example, if you work five hours per day for five days a week, you will earn one leave day (which consists of five hours) after every 17 days worked.

Am I entitled to sick leave?

Sick leave for part-time employees under the BCEA states that for every 26 days worked, part-time employees are entitled to one day paid sick leave. An employer may, however, request a medical certificate if an employee is off sick for two consecutive days or more than twice in eight weeks.

What happens to my accrued leave if I am on contract and the contract finishes?

At the end of your fixed duration contract, any sick leave that has not been used will automatically be forfeited. The BCEA states that an employer cannot force an employee to take leave within a certain period. Additionally, any unused leave for part-time employees, after the contract is terminated, must be paid out to them upon the termination of their contract. The BCEA prohibits the transfer of annual leave days to the next contract whereby an employer renews or extends a contract for a non-permanent part-time employee.

Who is excluded from paid annual leave?

According to the South African BCEA, the provisions for annual leave do not apply to an employee who works less than 24 hours per month. Independent contractors are not covered by the BCEA and would therefore not be entitled to paid leave. This means that if you are an Independent Contractor you would be exempt from receiving annual leave. If you worked an accumulated 24 hours or more per month, but for different employers, you would also be excluded from receiving annual leave. 

Having a thorough understanding of how leave for part-time employees are calculated under the BCEA before being employed is important and will avoid unnecessary confusion and complications at a later stage.


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