In South Africa, labour laws have been
established and is regulated through legislation such as the Basic Conditions
of Employment Act 75 of 1977 (BCEA) to protect the rights of workers and ensure
fair and just working conditions. One important aspect of these regulations is
overtime pay, which compensates employees for working beyond their normal
working hours. This article aims to provide an overview of overtime pay in
South African law, outlining the key provisions and entitlements for workers.

Overtime refers to the additional hours
worked by an employee beyond their regular working hours. The maximum legal hours
for employees in a general sense, as per the BCEA is 45 hours a week. The BCEA
provides guidance on overtime pay for employees who fall within the ambit of
the maximum applicable annual threshold of earnings. Generally, the Act
stipulates that employees are entitled to be compensated for working overtime.

South African labour law also establishes
limits on the number of overtime hours an employee can work. According to the
BCEA, employees should not work more than 10 hours of overtime per week. These
limitations aim to protect the well-being and safety of employees by preventing
excessive and prolonged working hours.

The BCEA further sets out the rate
employees are entitled to for overtime. According to the Act, employees are
entitled to receive at least 1.5 times their normal wage for each hour of
overtime worked. This means that if an employee earns R100 per hour during
normal working hours, they should receive R150 per hour for overtime. This
differs for employees working Sundays, for which, the employee must be
remunerated at double their normal rate per hour.

Alternatively, and by agreement, an
employer may also provide the employee with paid leave for the overtime periods
worked. The employee will then be entitled to 90 minutes paid time off for
every 60 minutes overtime worked.

However, it’s important to note that some
employment contracts or collective bargaining agreements may provide for higher
overtime rates or alternative arrangements. In such cases, the higher rate
agreed upon will supersede the statutory minimum.

Employees have the right to refuse to work
overtime if they have reasonable grounds, such as family responsibilities or
health concerns. It is important for employers to respect these rights and not
penalize employees for exercising them.

Overtime pay is an essential element of labour
laws in South Africa, providing fair compensation to employees for their
additional working hours. The BCEA outlines the entitlements, rates, and
limitations related to overtime pay, with the objective of ensuring employee
protection and well-being. By understanding their rights and obligations, both
employers and employees can maintain a harmonious and compliant working

Should you require assistance on this
topic, whether as an employee or employer, do not hesitate to contact us on,
011 897 1900 or 076 777 1920.


Article contributed by Ahmed Seedat of
Tuckers Attorneys.