Annual Leave and Holidays
Paid Vacation / Annual Leave
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act provides for annual leave on completion of a year of continuous service with an employer. A worker is entitled to 21 consecutive days of paid annual leave. Alternatively, a worker may be entitled to one day of leave for every 17 days worked or one hour for every 17 hours worked on mutual agreement.
The BCEA does not specify whether workers get a higher number of days as annual leave with seniority. An employer may reduce a worker’s entitlement to annual leave by the number of days of occasional leave on full remuneration granted to the worker at the worker’s request in the leave cycle of 12 months. An employer must grant a worker an additional day of paid leave if a public holiday falls on a day during a worker’s annual leave on which the worker would ordinarily have worked. An employer must grant annual leave within six months after the end of the annual leave cycle. An employee may take leave in one consecutive period, or at intermittent periods during an annual leave cycle.
An employer may not require or permit a worker to work for the employer during any period of annual leave. An employer must pay a worker annual leave-pay at least equivalent to the remuneration that the worker would have received for working for a period equal to the period of annual leave. An employer must pay a worker annual leave-pay before the beginning of the period of leave; or by agreement, on the worker’s usual pay day.
The employer is prohibited to pay compensation in lieu of annual leave except on termination of employment.
Source: §20-21 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 1997 (last amended in 2014)
Pay on Public Holidays
Workers are entitled to paid holidays during Festival (public and religious) holidays. These include memorial holidays and religious holidays (Christian origin). These are usually 12 in number. (Public Holidays Act, 1994 amended in 1995). These days are New Year’s Day (January 01), Human Rights Day (March 21), Good Friday (April 18), Family Day/Easter Monday (April 21), Freedom Day (April 27), Workers Day (May 01), Youth Day (June 16), National Women’s Day (August 09), Heritage Day (September 24), Reconciliation Day (December 16), Christmas Day (December 25), and the Day of Goodwill (December 26).
A public holiday is exchangeable for any other day which is fixed by agreement or agreed to between the employer and the employee.
Source: Public Holidays Act, 1994 amended in 1995
Weekly Rest Days
Workers are entitled to 36 consecutive hours of rest per week. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act requires that the weekly rest day, in principle, should be Sunday for all workers unless otherwise agreed.
A written agreement may provide for a rest period of at least 60 consecutive hours fortnightly or a weekly rest period may be reduced to 8 hours if the rest period in the following week is extended equivalently.
An employer must give a meal interval of at least one continuous hour to an employee who works continuously for more than five hours. These breaks are not paid, unless the employee is required to work or be available for work. An employee is remunerated for any part of a meal interval that is in excess of 75 minutes, unless the employee lives on the premises at which the workplace is situated.
An employee may be required or permitted during a meal break to perform only duties that cannot be left unattended and cannot be performed by another employee. However, the employee must be paid for a meal interval in which the employee is required to work or is required to be available for work.
An employee is entitled to a daily rest period of at least twelve consecutive hours between ending and recommencing work. Daily rest period can be reduced to 10 hours by mutual written consent for an employee who lives on the premises at which the workplace is situated and whose meal interval lasts for at least 3 hours.
Rest breaks and daily rest period are not applicable in cases when work is required to be done without delay owing to circumstances for which the employer could not reasonably have been expected to make provision and it cannot be done by employees during their ordinary hours of work.
Source: §15 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 1997 (last amended in 2014)
Regulations on Annual Leave and Holidays
Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (amended in 2002 & 2013)