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Is the 24 hours notice legal? Defending the employees or the employers?

by , 23 February 2015
The following subject tends to be more on the fragile aspect of things as it is proved to have become a more and more common practice when it comes to employees deciding to terminate their employment contract.

You should note that in general  most cases employees are bound to provide the employer with 1 month written notice. Sometimes it is stipulated in the employment contract merely as 1 month or 4 weeks, and in other cases it is stipulated as 1 calendar month.

More and more employees are ignoring this contractual requirement, and are either tendering 24 hours of notice, or in some cases are tendering the contractual notice period in writing and but then walk out and simply do not return to work. The employer is then left stranded without an employee to do the work in the vacated post, and the employee in fact is now in breach of contract.

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Although employees used to deduct one month salary from the final payout due to the employee, in many cases the employee tenders 24 hours notice the day after payday, and in many cases there is no leave pay due and thus the employer is left high and dry with no means of recovering his losses, if any.

The BCEA gives no support to such practice so do note that the 24 hours notice is illegal. The employee cannot terminate his employment contract on a 24 hours notice.

The solution? Employers must stipulate in the employment contract that should the employee terminate the employment contract without tendering the written contractual notice period, then the employer will deduct from the final payment to the employee, an amount equal to the period of notice not given.

If this condition is not stipulated in the employment contract, the employer may not deduct any monies from the final payment due to the employee but must pay the employee in full and then sue the employee civilly (in terms of breach of contract) for any damages the employer may wish to recover.

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