10 May Public Holiday Pay

 A challenge to any business when you are trying to keep productivity up, staff motivated and focused and expenses down.

It is important to know what you legally are obliged to pay staff– so that you are not paying too much or breaking the law by not paying public holidays at all!  There are also options in the BCEA that allow for you to move public holiday leave taken to more convenient days to improve your profitability.


Here is what that Department of Labour says about Public Holiday Pay:

Basic Guide to Public Holidays

Pay for Public Holidays

Workers must get paid time off for any public holiday that falls on a working day.


Working on Public Holidays

Working on a public holiday is by agreement only.

Workers must be paid extra for working on a public holiday.


Exchanging Public Holidays

A public holiday can be exchanged with another day by agreement.


Public Holidays and Annual Leave

A public holiday cannot be counted as annual leave.



Based on Legislation in Section 20, of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act


Workers must get paid time off for public holidays, but if they agree to work, they must be paid double their normal daily wage.


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 in excess of an amount stated in terms of  section 6 (3) of the Act
    • workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions.

The provisions for public holidays do not apply to –

  • senior management
  • sales staff who travel
  • workers who work less than 24 hours a month