South Africa

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Country Snapshot

The GPS Country Snapshot includes 25 sections of information about labor law compliance in South Africa. See a sample of popular sections below.

Termination of Employment

The labor law of South Africa requires notice periods of the following lengths:

  • 1 week if the employee has worked up to 6 months
  • 2 weeks if the employee has worked from 6 months to 1 year
  • 4 weeks, if the employee— (i) has worked for 1 year or more; or (ii) is a farm worker or domestic worker who has been employed for more than 6 months.

Employers can waive the notice period requirement by remunerating the employee for the notice period's duration. 

A collective agreement can permit a shorter notice period but not a longer one. The notice of termination must be in writing. Notice of termination must not be given while the employee is on leave. No agreement can require or permit an employee to give a period of notice longer than that required of the employer. 

Work Permits

Work visas are issued to foreigners for a set duration and only when local skills are not available for hire. Work permits or temporary visas for work are issued by the Department of Home Affairs.

  • The general work visa is valid for the contract's duration or a period not exceeding five years.
  • The critical skills work visa is issued for a period not exceeding five years.
  • The intra-company transfer work visa is issued to transfer an existing employee from a foreign branch to a South African branch. It is valid for four years and is both non-renewable and non-extendable.
  • The corporate visa allows corporate entities to employ a predetermined number of workers.

Paid Annual Leave

In South Africa, a pregnant employee is entitled to at least 4 consecutive months' unpaid maternity leave. Under the Unemployment Insurance Act, an employee contributing to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is eligible for a maternity benefit paid as 66% of her average earnings in the last 6 months. This benefit is paid for the entire duration of maternity leave. Full benefits are also paid for 4 months in case of miscarriage.

The employee can commence maternity leave at any time from four weeks before the expected date of birth or on a date certificated by a medical practitioner or a midwife. A pregnant employee must notify her employer in writing at least 4 weeks before her maternity leave commencement and at least 4 weeks before returning to work.

Employees who suffer a miscarriage during the third trimester of pregnancy or bear a stillborn child are entitled to maternity leave of 6 weeks after the miscarriage or stillbirth. 

Working Hours

According to South Africa's labor law, the statutory number of work hours cannot exceed 45 hours weekly, 9 hours daily (excluding lunch break) if working a 5-day week, and 8 hours daily (excluding lunch break) if working more than 5 days a week. Working hours can be extended by up to 15 minutes a day or 60 minutes a week by collective agreement. 

Employers and employees can also agree on a compressed working week where employees work up to 12 hours a day without exceeding the weekly limit of 45 hours.  

Maternity Leave

In South Africa, a pregnant employee is entitled to at least 4 consecutive months' unpaid maternity leave. Under the Unemployment Insurance Act, an employee contributing to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) is eligible for a maternity benefit paid as 66% of her average earnings in the last 6 months. This benefit is paid for the entire duration of maternity leave. Full benefits are also paid for 4 months in case of miscarriage.

The employee can commence maternity leave at any time from four weeks before the expected date of birth or on a date certificated by a medical practitioner or a midwife. A pregnant employee must notify her employer in writing at least 4 weeks before her maternity leave commencement and at least 4 weeks before returning to work.

Employees who suffer a miscarriage during the third trimester of pregnancy or bear a stillborn child are entitled to maternity leave of 6 weeks after the miscarriage or stillbirth. 

Minimum Wage

In South Africa, every worker is entitled to a wage of no less than the national minimum wage. The current national minimum wage is ZAR 25.42 (South African rands) per hour. New minimum wages for specific categories of workers are as follows: 

  • Farm workers - ZAR 25.42 per hour
  • Domestic workers - ZAR 25.42 per hour
  • Workers in extended public works program - ZAR 13.97 per hour.

The National Minimum Wage Commission sets the national minimum wage. Its role is to review the minimum wage annually and make recommendations to the Minister on any adjustment, which must commence on a date fixed by the President. 

Country Profile

The GPS Country Profile contains detailed information on over 60 topics related to labor law compliance within South Africa.
  • Type of Employment Relationship
  • Permanent Employment
  • Fixed-Term or Specific-Purpose Contracts
  • Temporary Employment Contracts
  • Part-time Employment
  • Young Worker Employment
  • Vendors and Independent Contractors
  • Types of Contracts
  • Probationary Period
  • Termination of the Contract of Employment
  • Grounds for Termination
  • Notice of Dismissal
  • Fair Dismissal
  • Redundancy
  • Unfair Dismissal
  • Suspension of Contract of Employment
  • Severance Benefits
  • Hours of Work
  • Work Week and Timekeeping
  • Night Work and Shift Work
  • Overtime
  • Remote Work
  • Required Time Off
  • Public Holidays
  • Annual Leave
  • Sick Leave
  • Maternity
  • Other Forms of Leave
  • Social Insurance and Retirement
  • Social Security Contribution
  • National Retirement Scheme
  • Dependents’/Survivors Benefit
  • Life and Disability Insurance/Benefit
  • Statutory Allowances
  • Compensation and Benefits
  • Minimum Wage (Basic Wage)
  • Bonuses, Profit Sharing and Other Compensation
  • Medical Insurance
  • Work Environment
  • Workplace Safety and Health
  • Prohibition of Discrimination
  • Prohibition of Harassment
  • Data Protection and Privacy
  • Whistleblowers and Retaliation
  • Workers’ representation in the organization
  • Freedom of Association
  • Registration and Recognition of Unions
  • Trade Union Personality
  • Collective Bargaining and Agreements
  • Disputes and Settlements
  • Strikes and Lockouts
  • Unfair Labor Practices
  • Taxation of Compensation and Benefits
  • Income Tax
  • Taxation of Employee Benefits
  • Tax Filing and Payment Procedures
  • Double Tax Relief and Tax Treaties
  • Visas and Work Permits
  • Visas
  • Work Permits and Residence Permits

 Country Snapshot

Get the full Country Snapshot with 25 sections of information about labor law in South Africa.