The following is non-applicable to senior managers, travelling sales staff or people who work less than 24 hours a month. Employees earning more than R89 455 a year are also excluded.

Ordinary working time

The determination takes into account: occupational health and safety; the family responsibilities of the employee; and the Code of Good Practice on the Regulation of Working Time. Section 9 states that the maximum hours of work are 45 hours per week and 9 hours per day per five day work week. If more than five days, employees must work 8 hours. A day is calculated as 24 hours from when the employee commences the work day.

Maximum working hours

Forty five (45) hours a week and nine hours a day if the employee works five or less days a week; eight hours a day if the employee works more than five days a  week. In order to serve the public, work time may be extended by up to 15 minutes a day, but not more than one hour a week.


Employees may exceed their work hours on agreement with their employer. An agreement to work overtime contained in an employee’s initial employment contract is only valid for one year and must be renewed thereafter. Employees may not work overtime of more than 3 hours per day or 10 hours per week. The remuneration is at one and a half times the employee’s normal remuneration. The daily maximum hours may be extended by agreement. Agreement is needed before an employee can be required to work overtime. Overtime may not exceed three hours a day or ten hours a week. Employee must receive 1½ hours’ normal wage for overtime work.

Work on Sundays

A person who does not usually work on Sunday is paid double the normal hourly rate for each hour worked. An employee who usually works on Sunday get one and a half times the employee’s wage for each hour worked or the normal hourly rate.

Night work

Night work is work performed after 18h00 and before 06h00 the next day and subject to the payment of an allowance and the availability of transport between residence and workplace. The following is required before employees can work night work: agreement; the employer must pay an allowance or a reduction in working hours; and transport is available between the places of work and home. The employer must tell employees about the health hazards and their right to undergo medical examination, for the employer’s account, if night work is regularly required. In this instance ‘regularly’ means working more than one hour between 23:00 and 06:00 at least five times a month or 50 times a year. If night work affects the employee’s health the employer must transfer the employee to a day if it is practical.

Public holidays

Normally employees do not work on public holidays unless by agreement. There are 12 public holidays each year, but if a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday is a public holiday.

Averaging of work time

Ordinary and overtime hours may be averaged over a period of up to four months by collective agreement. The employee cannot work more than 45 ordinary working hours a week and five hours’ overtime a week. The collective agreement lapses after one year, but if it is renewed twice, it does not lapse.

Meal times

An employer must give an employee who works continuously for more than five hours a meal interval of at least one continuous hour.  During a meal interval the employee may be required or permitted to perform only duties that cannot be left unattended and cannot be performed by another employee.  An employee must be remunerate for a meal interval in which the employee is required to work or is required to be available for work; and for any portion of a meal interval that is in excess of 75 minutes, unless the employee lives on the premises at which the workplace is situated.

Daily and weekly rest period 

A daily rest period of at least 12 consecutive hours is mandatory and a weekly rest period of at least 36 consecutive hours. Sunday is a rest day unless agreed otherwise. By agreement, a daily rest period of at least ten hours may be agreed if the employee lives at the workplace, and the meal break is at least three hours. Every two weeks a rest period of at least 60 consecutive hours can be agreed to. The weekly rest can be reduced to a minimum of eight hours if the rest period during the following week is extended equivalently.

Shift work

Where an employee works a shift, stretching over Sunday and another day, or a public holiday and another day, the entire shift is taken to be on the day on which most of the shift fell.

Compressed working week

By written agreement, employees can work up to 12 hours a day (including lunch intervals) with no overtime pay, provided they work not more than 45 hours ordinary time a week, and not more than five days a week and not more than ten hours’ overtime per week.

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