I received an e-mail from a concerned reader who works as a shift worker and is paid his salary on a monthly basis.
From time to time, his employer requires that he works on a Sunday. On these occasions, he is paid only for his normal day’s work and receives no additional remuneration.
As far as he knows, a Sunday is viewed as a rest day and after reading through the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) he noticed that if an employee is expected to work on a Sunday, his employer should pay him one and a half times his hourly wage.
At present, his employer only pays hourly paid shift workers one and a half times their (hourly) wage for working on a Sunday. Employees (such as our reader) who are paid monthly and are expected to work on a Sunday, only receive their normal pay.
Our reader is keen to find out if he should indeed be receiving extra remuneration for his Sunday work. He is also interested to find out if there are any exceptions to the rule – in other words where employees do not qualify for extra pay for overtime worked.
The BCEA in fact states than an employer must pay an employee who works on a Sunday double the employee’s wage for each hour worked, unless the employee ordinarily works on a Sunday. In this case, the employer must pay the employee one and a half times his wage for each hour worked.
If, when working on a Sunday, the employee works fewer hours than his ordinary shift, his employer only needs to pay him his ordinary daily wage.
Letting employees work on Sundays can be very costly to employers. The only way an employer can avoid paying time and a half or double for work done on a Sunday, would be if he concludes an agreement with the employees or their unions in terms of which the employees are given time off in lieu of overtime worked.
So, if employees are paid normal rates on a Sunday (such as in the case of our reader), they must be given time off on normal pay.
The time off must be given within one month of the Sunday in question, unless the employee agrees to take it after a longer period.
In answer to our reader’s question whether there are instances where employees will not be paid for overtime worked, the answer is yes.
These include senior managerial employees, sales staff who travel to premises of customers and who regulate their own working hours, employees who work less than 24 hours per month and employees who earn more than R149 736 per annum.
A warning to employers though is that despite what the BCEA says, if he has contractually agreed to pay overtime, he is bound by that agreement.
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Booysen & Rossouw Attorneys in Port Elizabeth specialises in labour related legislation. The firm also handles injury on duty (IOD) cases and deals with all other aspects of the law.
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