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When must you pay for sick leave and how much should you pay?

by , 09 March 2015
As a general rule, sick pay is calculated according to wages and annual leave pay according to remuneration.

But do you know when must you pay for sick leave and how much should you pay? Today, we explain.


Keep in mind that you must pay an employee for a day's sick leave the wage the employee would ordinarily have received for work on that day. This must be paid on the employee's usual pay day.

Pay attention to the fact that sick pay is calculated with reference to wages whilst annual leave pay is calculated with reference to remuneration.

Payment for sick leave is more limited than annual leave pay – sick pay excludes the value of benefits and payments in kind.

When are you legally obliged to pay for sick leave?



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The right to paid sick leave accrues only when the employee can't work because of incapacity, which means the inability to work because of sickness or injury.

But can an employee take all his sick leave or must it be pro-rated?

According to labour law, an employee is permitted to take his full sick leave allowance at the beginning of the sick leave cycle – in other words,, it's not pro-rated over a period of time.

Note that the amount of money paid or payable to an employee for ordinary hours of work, or, if they are shorter, the hours an employee ordinarily works in a day or week

Also, if an employee takes 30 days' sick leave in the first month of the sick leave cycle, the employee is permitted to do this. He won't, however, be entitled to any more paid sick leave for the remainder of the sick leave cycle.


Further sick leave will be unpaid unless agreed otherwise in terms of the employee's employment contract, a policy or a collective agreement.

Important aspect! Keep in mind that sick leave doesn't accumulate so whatever isn't used up at the end of the sick leave cycle will be forfeited!



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