6 types of job leave in South Africa you’re entitled to



Are you newly employed in the South African job market and wondering what your formal absence from work options are?

What are the six different types of leave entitlements? Navigating the different types of leave in South Africa without sufficient knowledge is quite taxing.

Although organizations differ in operations and terms of employment, employees working for more than 24 hours a month qualify for the following types of leave in South Africa.

Here is everything you should know to help you understand your fundamental rights according to the Employment Act Section 19.

1. Annual leave

This is one of the most commonly identified types of leave. So, how many leave days do you get a year in South Africa? According to section 20 (2) part (a), an employee is guaranteed 21 consecutive days on full pay annually. For employees working on a 5 day week, this translates to 15 working days while those working 6 days weekly get 18 working days of annual leave. It is equally important to note that public holidays falling within the annual legal absence from work duration will not be deducted. Do your leave days accrue? Yes.

2. Maternity leave

According to the Act, maternity off is given to an expectant mother for up to four months and unpaid. The Act additionally stipulates that absence from work, for this reason, should start later than 4 weeks of the expected child’s date of birth and that the employee may return to work after completing 6 weeks after giving birth. However, exemptions to these can only be accepted after the presentation of the employee’s midwife or medical practitioner’s written consent.

3. Sick leave

Sick leave is given out to employees to enable them to heal from an ailment. Usually, this is one of the types of paid leave in South Africa, and an employee is guaranteed 15 working days. A sick off cycle is 36 months of employment with the same employer or completing the prior sick leave cycle. For the first 6 months of employment, you are entitled to 1 day of sick absence from work for every 26 days worked. An employer may require his or her employee to produce proof of illness or incapacity to report, more so in cases where they were absent for consecutive days.

4. Study leave

Which are the types of leave for teachers in South Africa? This may be one of the absences from the work period that a teacher may take to advance their studies. Although the South African labour legislation fails to acknowledge this option as leave entitlements in the country, it does exist as an arrangement between employees and their employers. When taking time off work to pursue your education, an employee must decide whether to take their annual leave days per month or take an unpaid absence from work for it to apply.

5. Religious holidays leave

If you are newly employed and are worried about missing your traditional one-week break to pursue religious enrichment, worry not. Like absence from work to pursue your studies, the religious leave South Africa is not regulated by labour law. Currently, should you miss work because of religious holidays besides the official government ones, you will either decide to take an unpaid period off work or have it deducted from your annual off days’ entitlement.

6. Family responsibility leave

The family responsibility leave is issued to an employee who has worked for over four months and working 4 days a week for the same employer. According to the law, one is entitled to 3 days of paid family responsibility absence from work per year. However, domestic employees are usually entitled to 5 days family responsibility leave. While it might seem like the most enticing leave days South Africa, its greatest shortcoming is that it is not accumulative. The leave entitlement ends at the end of the year.

Cases that allow you to ask for this type of off from the workplace include when the employee’s child is born, sick, or if the employee’s spouse or life partner, biological parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, child, adopted child, grandchild or sibling dies.

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