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Labour Law: What Are The Working Hours In SA?

Man looking at his watch

Employees in South Africa are protected by Labour Laws that ensure fair working conditions.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997 sets out to ensure that workers are subjected to fair labour practices. The act establishes and regulates the basic conditions of employment in South Africa.

The Act states that employers must regulate the working time of each employee in accordance with the provisions of any Act governing occupational health and safety and with due regard to the health and safety of employees. Employers must also consider the family responsibilities of their employees with regard to working hours.

The Act states an employer may not require or permit an employee to work more than 45 hours in any week and nine hours in any day if the employee works for five days or fewer in a week.

This could be extended to up to 50 hours a week if you are given a one-hour lunch break every day.

A normal lunch break is 1 hour, however, subject to an agreement between the employer and employee, this can be shortened to 30 minutes.

An employee cannot be required to work more than eight hours in a day if they work more than five days a week.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act does not apply to members of the National Defence Force, the National Intelligence Agency and the South African Secret Service. Unpaid volunteers working for an organisation serving a charitable purpose are also not included. 

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