South Africa


Hiring Employees in South Africa

Spoken Language

South Africa has 11 official languages. Afrikaans, English, Ndebele, Northern Sotho, Sotho, Swazi, Tswana, Tsonga, Venda, Xhosa, Zulu


South African Rand (ZAR)

Average hours & Overtime

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) regulates working hours and overtime. Employees may work a maximum of 45 hours a week (excluding lunch hours) at a normal rate of pay. That is 9 hours per day for a 5-day week and 8 hours a day for a work week of more than 5 days. Employees may work a maximum of 3 hours overtime per day or 10 hours in any one week. Overtime is calculated at 1.5 x normal rate and 2 x for Sundays and public holidays.

Wages and salaries

Effective 1 March 2020, the minimum wage per hour is ZAR20.76.

Observed National Holidays and vacation

Public holidays are proclaimed each year but these are the official holidays:
1 January: New Year’s Day
21 March: Human Rights Day
Good Friday (determined according to the ecclesiastical moon and change each year – usually in March or April) Family Day (the Monday after Good Friday) 27 April: Freedom Day
1 May: Worker’s Day
16 June: Youth Day
9 August: National Woman’s Day
24 September: Heritage Day
16 December: Day of Reconciliation
25 December: Christmas Day
26 December: Day of Goodwill
Where a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday is declared a holiday too.

Paid Leave

The BCEA provides:
Annual leave – an employee is entitled to a minimum of 21 consecutive days’ paid annual leave (15 working days) in respect of each annual leave cycle, being a period of 12 months’ employment with the same employer.
Sick leave – an employee who works 5 days per week is entitled to 30 days every 36 months. This is dependent on medical certificates being provided.
Maternity leave – 4 consecutive months unpaid but benefits can be claimed for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).
Family responsibility leave – 3 days on full pay per year and is non-accumulative. Only available to employees who have been in employment with the same employer for longer than 4 months and who work more than 4 days per week for the employer.
Parental leave – all parents (including fathers, adopting parents and surrogates) are entitled to ten days unpaid leave when their children are born.

Expats, Visas, & Work Permits

General work visas are issued to foreigners where it has been proven beyond reasonable doubt that South African citizens and permanent residents with the relevant qualifications or skills and experience are not available for appointment.
Expats require a South African work visa to legally take up employment.

Termination Notice

Notice period depends on the contractual agreement but ranges from 1 week to 1 month.

Statutory Deductions

PAYE (Pay As You Earn) – income tax UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund)
SDL (Skills Development Levy)
Workmen’s Compensation (funding of injury on duty compensation)

Health Insurance

Health insurance is not mandatory but may be offered as an employee benefit, with the costs shared between the employer and employee.

Important Information

All foreign workers (whether working for an employer or self-employed) must ensure that they have a valid residential permit to work in the country and it is mandatory that this must be renewed annually. Failure to do so will be liable to prosecution and in the event of removal from the country, the employer shall bear the cost.

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