The new workers’ rights law

The government has made an important new law for workers. The new law is called the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The law started on the 1st June 1983.

This new law gives certain rights to shop workers, factory workers and office workers. This law also gives rights to hospital and other health workers, hotel workers, delivery workers, security guards and nightwatchmen. A boss cannot give these workers less than the new law says. He can only give them more.

The new law does not give any rights to farm workers and domestic workers. The government has still not given these workers any rights. And this new law does not talk about government workers. Government workers have certain rights under special laws. Learn and Teach will write about these laws later this year.

Many workers already have. rights under other laws. For example: Mine workers have some rights under a law called the Mines and Works Act. And many other workers already have rights under other laws called Industrial Council Agreements and Wage Determinations. But lawyers think all these workers can’t get less than the new law says. They can only get a better deal. And the new law gives workers rights they don’t have already under these other laws.

The new law does not make many changes for office, shop and factory workers. But there are some important changes. Shop and office workers can now work more overtime. 8efore shop workers could only work 30 hours overtime a year. And office workers could only work 100 hours overtime a year. Now all workers can work 10 hours overtime a week. And under the new law women can now work the same overtime as men. Is this a good or a bad thing?

And now when a boss fires a worker, he must say so in writing. A worker’s notice won’t start until the worker gets a letter. The new law also says children under 15 years of age cannot wprk. And for the first time, security guards and nightwatchmen have some rights.

The new law also says a boss can’t take money from a workers wages when the worker doesn’t do something at work – or when the boss doesn’t like something the worker does. And the boss can’t fire a worker if the worker joins a trade union. If the boss does fire the worker, the boss can get a fine up to R2 000. Or the boss can go to jail for two years. Or the boss can get fined and go to jail. Now read what else the law says:

46 hours a week

You must not work more than 46 hours a week. Lunch breaks and tea breaks are not counted in these 46 hours. They are not counted as working time.

– you work 6 days a week? Then you must not work more than 8 hours a day.
– you work 5 days a week? Then you must not work more than 8 hours a day.
– you work 5 days a week? Then you must not work more than 9 hours a day.

Casual Workers. A casual worker must not work more than 9){‘ hours a day. (A casual worker does not work more than 3 days a week.)
Guards and nightwatchmen: These workers must not work more than 60 hours a week. Meals are counted as working time. Shopworkers: Your boss can ask you to work an extra 15 minutes when you go for lunch or at closing time. He can ask you only when customers are in the shop. But he can’t make you work more than an hour extra altogether in one week.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Overtime

Maybe you sometimes work more than 46 hours a week. Then you are working overtime. You can’t work more than 10 hours overtime in a week. And you can’t work more than 3 hours overtime on a day.

Workers must agree to work overtime. Some workers agree to work overtime in their contracts. For other workers, the boss must ask them each time to work overtime.

You must get extra money for overtime. The overtime wage is your wage plus one third of your wage. For example: Mandla Xuma earns R 1.20 an hour. One third of R 1.20 is 40 cents. So his overtime wage is R 1.20 plus 40 cents. He must get R 1.60 an hour for overtime

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Sunday Pay

Maybe you work on a Sunday. Then you must get Sunday pay. Sunday pay works this way:

If you work less than 4 hours on a Sunday, you must get a whole day’s pay.
If you work more than 4 hours on a Sunday, you must get 2 day’s pay, or overtime pay and a day off in the next week. Your boss must pay you for this day off.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005

Shift work

Some places work all the time. For example: a power station works all the time. These places need workers all day and all night. These places work 7 days a week. They have 3 shifts a day. Each shift is 8 hours long. Workers at these places must not work more than 48 hours a week. Lunch breaks are counted as working time.

If these workers work on Sunday, they must get the same deal as all other workers. Look at the block on Sunday Pay.

Maternity

A pregnant woman must not go to work for the last 4 weeks before the baby is born. And she must not go to work 8 weeks after the baby is born.

A woman can get money when she takes time off for a baby. She gets this money from an ad­ ministration board or Commissioner’s court.

Public holidays

Shop and office workers must get all public holidays. They get 10 public holidays all together. Factory workers only get 6 public holidays. These holidays are:

New Year’s Day / Republic Day / Good Friday / Day of the Vow / Ascension Day / Christmas Day

(Office workers who work in factories get the same public holidays as factory workers.) Workers must get public holidays with full pay. If they work, they must get double wages.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Sick leave

When you are sick and can’t go to work, you must get paid. You get paid for sick leave.

– you work 6 days a week? Then you can take 12 days sick leave a year.
– you work 5 days a week? Then you can take 10 days sick leave a year.

These days are only for sickness. If you are not sick, you cannot take sick leave. Maybe you are sick for more days than your sick leave. Then your boss ·will not pay you for the extra days. You must get money from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (U.I.F.).

Paid holiday

You must get a paid holiday after you have worked for one year. You must get two weeks paid holiday every year. (This 2 weeks means 10 working days.) Your paid holiday does not count sick leave or public holidays.

When you are sick and can’t go to work, you must get paid. You get paid for sick leave.

– you work 6 days a week? Then you can take 12 days sick leave a year.
– you work 5 days a week? Then you can take 10 days sick leave a year.

These days are only for sickness. If you are not sick, you cannot take sick leave. Maybe you are sick for more days than your sick leave. Then your boss ·will not pay you for the extra days. You must get money from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (U.I.F.).

Some workers must get 3 weeks leave every year. (This 3 weeks means 15 working days). Nightwatchmen and some workers who sell things outside a shop or office must get 3 weeks leave.

Your boss must tell you when to go on leave. But after you have worked for a year, your boss cannot make you wait more than 4 months for leave.

Created by Readiris, Copyright IRIS 2005Notice pay

If you are fired, your boss must give you notice. Your boss must give you a letter saying you are fired. Your notice won’t start until you get this letter. Notice works this way:

– you get paid every week? If you are fired, your boss must let you work for another week. Or he must give you an extra week’s pay.
– you get paid every month? If you are fired, your boss must let your work for 2 more weeks. Or he must give you an extra 2 weeks pay.

When you leave you must also get paid for any holidays you didn’t take. This is called leave pay.

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