Leave Requirements for Employees in South Africa

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) is an essential document for employers which outlines the main types of leave that employees are entitled to. South Africa has comprehensive labour laws that regulate leave entitlements for employees, ensuring fair and equitable treatment in the workplace.  More information on these leave laws can be found on the labour. In this article we will cover the main areas of leave, however the leave software can accommodate more leave types than discussed below, where employers customise the leave for their company, and include the days allowed for this leave

Leave requirements for employees in South Africa include:

  1. Annual Leave

Employees in South Africa are entitled to annual leave to rest and rejuvenate. The BCEA stipulates that employees must receive at least 21 consecutive days of annual leave for every 12 months of employment. Alternatively, this can be calculated as 1.25 days of leave per month worked. Employers are required to grant this leave within six months of the end of the annual leave cycle.

  1. Sick Leave

Sick leave in South Africa operates on a cycle basis. During each 36-month cycle, employees are entitled to a number of days equal to the number of days they would normally work during a six-week period. For example, an employee working a five-day week would be entitled to 30 days of sick leave over three years. During the first six months of employment, employees are entitled to one day of sick leave for every 26 days worked.

  1. Maternity Leave

Maternity leave provisions are designed to support employees during pregnancy and after childbirth. Female employees are entitled to four consecutive months of maternity leave. This leave can commence at any time from four weeks before the expected date of birth, or earlier if medically necessary. During maternity leave, the employee is generally not entitled to pay unless stipulated by the employment contract or company policy, though employees can claim benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF).

  1. Family Responsibility Leave

Family responsibility leave is granted to employees for specific family-related reasons. Family needs to be direct spouse, child, parent. Employees are entitled to three days of paid leave per year under the following circumstances:

  • The birth of a child
  • Illness of a child
  • Death of a spouse, life partner, parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, child, adopted child, grandchild, or sibling

This leave is available to employees who have been with their employer for more than four months and who work at least four days a week.

  1. Other Forms of Leave

In addition to the standard leave types, South African law also accommodates other forms of leave, such as study leave and unpaid leave, though these are typically governed by company policies rather than legislation. These can be customised for the client.


Leave information integrates into the payroll and HR software modules. The employees leave profiles can be imported with setup, using the CSV format provided.

Employers and employees need to understand these rights and responsibilities to ensure compliance with the law and to promote a fair and productive work environment. Employers should have clear policies in place and communicate these effectively to their employees to avoid misunderstandings and disputes, and be able to give this information to employees.


Leave requirements for employees translated into Intoweb’s leave software and integrating into payroll, HR and attendance software..