The issue of leave and remuneration is one of the most common sticking points between employers and members of staff. Although the law is quite clear on the number of leave days an employee is entitled to, including annual leave, sick leave and family responsibility leave, disagreements often arise from employees taking their leave without notice.
Any member of staff employed by an employer in South Africa is obliged to work under the conditions described in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, often referred to as the BCEA. Employers are also required to fulfil their obligations to staff as described in the Act. Though the law is quite clear on the matter of leave and payment for leave, employers and staff are often not aware what the correct way is to approach the issue.
The BCEA and Labour Relations Act exist to protect both workers and their employers. According to these laws, staff should be paid for the time they worked and deductions may only be made if agreed to before the time or if they form part of a law or collective agreement with a union. What some employers may not realise however, is that a member of staff who is absent without reason or permission does not have to be paid for the time he or she didn’t work – and this is not a deduction.
How can this be? Although it may seem that a deduction has been made, it has not because the member of staff missed work without permission (in the case of paid annual leave) or good reason (ill-health or family responsibility) he or she did not work as expected by the law. Because of this, employers are not obliged to pay the employee his or her full salary at the end of the week or month – he or she is only to be paid for work done.
If you are in any doubt about how to approach the issue of leave and staff payment, contact the Northwood team without delay – our professional staff will advise you on the best approach to take.