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Overtime and Hours of Work

- Featured article by LAWYERS-ONLINE.CO.ZA

A Basic Guide to Overtime

“Overtime” is all hours worked in excess of the employee's normal hours of work will be regarded as overtime hours. Therefore, if an employee is contracted to work 45 hours per week normal time, then any hours in excess of that is overtime worked. Similarly, if an employee is contracted to work 40 hours per week normal time, then any hours in excess of the 40 hours is overtime worked.

The amount of overtime a worker may work is limited. Workers must get 1.5 times their normal hourly pay or paid time off in exchange for overtime. Alternatively, a worker may agree to receive pai d time off or a co mbination of pay an d time off.

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 regulates 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; and workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions.

Workers may not work overtime, unless by agreement; more than 10 hours’ overtime a week (collective agreement may increase this to 15 hours per week for up to 2 months a year); or more than 12 hours on any day – section 10.

Overtime is not compulsory, and employees can refuse to work overtime on short notice. However, an employee cannot refuse to work overtime if the work which is required to be done must be done without delay owing to circumstances for which the employer could not reasonably have been expected to make provision, such as the sudden breakdown of equipment, and which cannot be performed by employees during the ordinary hours of work.

Date: 9th June 2014
Legislation: Basic Condition of Employment Act, 75 of 1997

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