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Is your leave policy legally compliant? These seven questions reveal the answer...

by , 02 April 2014
The abuse of sick leave in South Africa is widespread, and its estimated to be as high as 33% of recorded sickness absence. The good news is a legally sound leave policy can help you fight sick leave abuse. But how do you know if your policy is above board? Ask yourself these seven questions...

If you want to ensure your leave policy is legally compliant, ask yourself these seven questions

The Practical Guide to Human Resources Management outlines the seven questions to ask about your leave policy:

#1: Is my leave policy in line with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act?

#2: Does my leave policy stipulate the definitions to prevent misunderstanding?

#3: Does my leave policy address the following types of leave (as stipulated in the BCEA):

  • Annual (vacation) leave (21 consecutive days in a 12 month leave cycle which must be taken within 6 months after the end of the leave cycle in which it accrued)
  • Sick leave (six weeks' worth of working days in a 36 month cycle i.e. 30 days in a three year cycle for 5 day-a-week workers)
  • Maternity leave (minimum of four months leave)
  • Family responsibility leave (minimum of three days leave per 12 month leave cycle)


An ineffective leave policy could cripple your business

Did you know that not forcing your employees to take their annual leave could end up costing you anything up to R15 000 per employee?

That's right - employees that don't take leave could be costing you just as much as employees that abuse it.

That's because any leave that's accrued into the following financial year will increase the leave bill for your company and therefore severely affect your organisation in the long run.

That's why I'm excited to introduce you to a resource that completely takes the stress and confusion out of managing annual leave in your company.


That's not all you must ask when determining if your leave policy is legally compliant.

#4: Does my leave policy address the following types of leave (which don't form part of the BCEA but which could be helpful for your employees):

  • Temporary incapacity leave
  • Permanent incapacity
  • Leave for occupational injuries and diseases
  • Adoption Leave

#5: Does my leave policy address all circumstances under which special leave will be granted?

#6: Does my leave policy state who will be responsible for implementing the policy?

#7: Does my leave policy state when the policy will be reviewed?

If your company's leave policy addresses all the things mentioned above, it's legally sound.

The bottom line: Your leave policy must include EVERY leave issue. And it must clearly explain your rules and regulations about leave entitlements so that all your employees know what the leave rules are and that your managers have a guideline to follow when administering leave at your company.

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Is your leave policy legally compliant? These seven questions reveal the answer...
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