Work hours regulations…who are they for?

According to the BCEA (Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Act 2014,) work hour stipulations apply to employees who earn less than R241 110, 59 a year.

If you earn more, you are not covered by the work hour clauses.

If you work less than 24 hours per month, you are also not included in these clauses.

Setting work hours

Consider your employee’s health and safety when setting their work hours. Also, respect their family responsibilities.

The BCEA says a day is 24 hours (from the time the employee starts working).

  • they may not work more than 45 hours per week (excluding lunch break).
  • they may not work more than 9 hours a day (in 5 days or less).
  • and no more than 8 hours a day if working more than 5 days per week.

This may be extended – by mutual agreement – by

  • 15 minutes a day;
  • not more than 60 minutes a week

This enables an employee whose duty it is to serve the public to continue performing those duties after the completion of ordinary hours of work.Work hours Exceptions

Employment contract

  • the employee must agree to hours in writing.
  • they may not work more than 12 hours any day, up to 12 hours a day(including meal break) without overtime pay.
  • may not work more than 45 hours a week.
  • or more than 6 days a week.

Lunch breaks

This must be included in the contract of employment. (The meal break is usually not included as a work hour.)

  • lunch break must be taken after 5 hours of work.
  • it must last at least an hour.
  • they may not work at all during this break (unless duties can’t be left unattended, or done by someone else).
  • they must be paid if required to work during their lunch break.

* it may be agreed -in writing- to reduce the lunch break to 30 minutes.

Rest periods

All employees must be allowed to rest, therefore…

  • there must be at least 12 hours between work periods (can be reduced to 10 hours if they live in the work premises – but then lunch break must be at least 3 hours).
  • weekend rest must be at least 36 hours…and include a Sunday.
  • OR they have 60 hours of rest every 2-week period.
  • The employer may reduce the rest period by up to 8 hours BUT must then extend next week’s rest period by the same amount of time.

Work hours at night

Night work – after 6pm and before 6am

  • employees must agree to night work.
  • shift allowance must be paid, or reduced working hours.
  • transport must be provided between their home and place of work.

Night shift

  • BUT if they work regularly (5x a month or 50x a year) after 23:00 and before 6:00 am, then:
  • workers must be informed of any safety hazards that may be faced during work hours.
  • they have a right to a medical exam (at employer’s expense) before starting duties AND may have follow-up check ups if they continue those night duties.
  • if night shift results in health problems, they must be moved to a day shift as soon as possible.

If you need more information around the regulations linked to work hours, please contact the Paymaster Helpdesk. We also offer comprehensive payroll services, that will keep your business compliant.