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South Africa Leave Laws & Holidays

Paid Time Off, Annual Leave, Sick Leave, Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Bereavement Leave, Jury Duty Leave, Military Leave, and Voting Leave

Table Of Contents

Last updated on January 17, 2024.

Public Holidays in South Africa for 2024

Date Holiday
January 1 New Year
March 21 Human Rights Day
March 29 Good Friday
April 1 Family Day
April 27 Freedom Day
May 1 Labour Day
Jun 16 & 17 Youth Day
August 9 National Women’s Day
September 24 Heritage Day
December 16 Day of Reconciliation
December 25 Christmas
December 26 Day of Goodwill

Employees can only be required to work on a Sunday or a public holiday where they have agreed to it.  The employee must be paid at double his normal wage/rate if he does not ordinarily work on Sundays, and at 1.5 times his ordinary rate if he does ordinarily work on Sundays. Paid time off may be agreed to instead of additional payment.


  • Vacation/Annual Paid Leave

Employees are entitled to a leave period of no less than 21 consecutive days per completed year of employment (or 1 day for 17 days worked, or 1 hour for 17 hours worked), on full pay.

  • Use-it-or-lose-it policy 

Leve can be rolled over from one year to the next. An employer is compelled to ensure that statutory leave is taken within a period of 6 months of the end of the annual leave cycle.

An employer must pay an employee leave pay before the beginning of the period of leave.

  • PTO payout at the termination

Employers are required to pay employees for unused vacation at the termination of employment.

Maternity Leave, Paternity Leave, Parental Leave

Maternity Leave

An employee is entitled to at least four consecutive months of maternity leave. An employee may commence maternity leave at any time from four weeks before the expected date of birth unless otherwise agreed; or on a date from which a medical practitioner or a midwife certifies that it is necessary for the employee’s health or that of her unborn child.

No employee may work for six weeks after the birth of her child. unless a medical practitioner or midwife certifies that she is fit to do so.

An employee who has a miscarriage during the third trimester of pregnancy or bears a stillborn child is entitled to maternity leave for six weeks after the miscarriage or stillbirth. whether or not the employee had commenced maternity leave at the time of the miscarriage or stillbirth.

Paternity Leave

Employees are entitled to up to 3 days of paid leave when the employee’s child is born.

Sick Leave, Paid Sick Leave, and Family Care Leave

Sick Leave

There is also an entitlement to a minimum number of sick leave on full pay. An employee is entitled to one day’s paid sick leave for every 26 days worked during the first four months of employment, and thereafter to 30 days paid sick leave for every 36 months worked (the leave cycle). An employer will only be obligated to grant paid sick leave of longer than two days or for longer than one day when more than two absences occurred in a space of eight weeks if the employee produces a valid medical certificate that has been issued by a medical practitioner.

Family Responsibility Leave

Employees are entitled to take up to 3 days of paid leave when the employee’s child is sick. Employees who have been in employment with an employer for longer than four months and work for at least four days a week for that employer are entitled to take the leave.

Jury Duty Leave and Voting Leave (Leave due to Public Interest)

Not specified by law.

Bereavement Leave

Employees are entitled to up to 3 days of paid leave in the event of the death of the employee’s spouse or life partner; or the employee’s parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, child, adopted child, grandchild, or sibling.

Military Leave

Not specified by law.

Please consult your local legal counsel to learn more about South Africa Leave Laws.

To learn more about laws in various countries, check out our Leave Laws page.

All materials have been prepared for general information purposes only to permit you to learn more about this region's leave laws. The information presented is not legal advice, is not to be acted on as such, and may not be current. Please contact your local legal counsel to learn more about the leave laws in your country.

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