The month of December is scattered with public holidays and whilst all of us will be enjoying the holiday season, numerous employers will have difficulties in understanding the operation and subsequent payment of work done on these public holidays. Therefore, with reference to section 18 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, in order to maximize your operational capacity during the holiday period, consider the following 5 aspects:

1. You may not require your employee to work on a public holiday, unless it is agreed upon.

2. If the public holiday falls on a day on which your employee would normally work, you will be bound to pay the employee’s ordinarily wage if the employee does not work on that day.

3. If your employee works on the public holiday, you as employer must pay the employee at least double his / her ordinarily wage or if his / her ordinary wage and time worked on the public holiday is more than double the employee’s rate, then the employee is entitled to the greater amount.

4. If your employee works on the public holiday, which he / she would not ordinarily work, you as employer must pay such employee their ordinary daily wage and any other amount earned by such employee for work done on that day.

5. If your employee works a shift that falls on both the public holiday and another day, the whole shift will be deemed to have been worked on the public holiday. However, should your employee work a greater portion of his / her shift on the other day, the whole shift would be deemed to have been worked on the other day, thus excluding your employee`s public holiday entitlement.


In addition to the above mentioned, it is important to consider the following:

6. The exchange of a public holiday for another day.  Even though such exchange is not regulated by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, the Public Holidays Act provide that by agreement with the employee, a public holiday may be exchanged for another day.

Thus, by agreement your employee may work on a public holiday at his / her normal rate and take any subsequent day of on full pay.


Article by: Marco Boyens

CEO Regional Manager – PE