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Make sure you give your employees the legal amount of leave

by , 14 May 2013
You must ensure you give your employees the correct amount of leave they're legally entitled to. This includes annual leave, maternity leave and family responsibility leave.

Have a look here to get it right.

How much annual leave you must give your employees

Your employees have a 12-month annual leave cycle.

Use one of these three ways to work out the amount of leave to give them in each leave cycle:

  1. Grant your employee at least 21 consecutive days of annual leave with full pay in each leave cycle. This equates to 15 working days and six weekend days, i.e. three weeks of annual leave. This method also applies if he works a six-day week.
  2. Grant one day's leave for every 17 days worked in the leave cycle.
  3. Grant one hour's leave for every 17 hours worked in the leave cycle.

Warning! You must reach an agreement with your employee to work out his leave in the last two ways.

Dos and don'ts of annual leave


  1. Give your employee an extra day of paid annual leave if they're on annual leave over a public holiday.
  2. Let your employee take annual leave if he's on unpaid leave. However, he must request this in writing.
  3. Have an agreement with your employees for when you'll allow them to take annual leave. If you don't have an agreement, it's up to you to decide when they can go on leave.


  1. Grant leave more than six months after the end of your employee's leave cycle
  2. Make your employee use all his annual leave by taking single days when it suits you.
  3. Allocate absence as annual leave when you should allocate it as another type of leave, i.e. sick, maternity or family responsibility leave.
  4. Allow your employee to take annual leave during any period of notice or termination of employment.

Pay your employee out in lieu of paid annual leave, except if his contract's been terminated. For payment in this case you must comply with Section 40(b) and (c) of the BCEA.

You need to know what maternity leave and family responsibility leave to give employees too.  To find out, and to get more checklists, tips and examples of how to handle every aspect of leave, get your copy of Labour Law for Managers. You'll also receive sample policies and step by step instructions to handle any labour problem.

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