More employees entitled to claim overtime from July

24 May 2011

Contacts

This article was first published by the Sowetan, Business.

This follows changes made by Labour Minister Mildred Olipant to this section of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act on May 13. From July 1 employees earning more than the new threshold of R172 000 a year will not automatically benefit from certain sections of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1998.

The previous threshold was R149 736 a year. The new changes mean that employees earning more than the monetary threshold cannot insist on only working a minimum of 45 hours in any week without receiving overtime pay (sections 9 and 10) and are also excluded from sections 11 and 12, which regulate compressed working weeks and the averaging of work hours.

This threshold does not apply to contracted workers.

Karen Ainslie, director in the employment and labour section of law firm Deneys Reitz, said though the new figure could, for some employers, mean that they would pay employees who worked overtime more, it was at least a round number that anyone could easily work with.

“This means that everybody earning below that (R172 000) is entitled to only work 45 hours a week.

If they are required to work more than that, they will have to be paid overtime. “If the same group of people are required to work on a Sunday or a public holiday, they have to be paid overtime for it by law,”Ainslie said.

She said the change might not be good news for employers who have to pay more workers for overtime because of an increase in the number of workers entitled to overtime pay.

“Companies will now have to ensure that their payroll is in order and that people are paid for the overtime money which is due to them if they belong to the new threshold,” Ainslie said. She said if the company failed to comply with the new regulation. employees could go to the Department of Labour to report the matter.

The department would then send inspectors and if the employer was found to be in breach of the regulation, the department would issue a compliance order.