SOUTH AFRICA: PRESIDENT DECLARES 27 DECEMBER A PUBLIC HOLIDAY

By Keshni Naicker Monday, December 12, 2022
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On 8 December 2022, following mounting pressure from the Congress of South African Trade Unions and the Federation of South African Trade Unions, President Cyril Ramaphosa finally declared 27 December a public holiday in terms of section 2A of the Public Holidays Act 36 of 1994 (Act).

The declaration comes as this year Christmas Day falls on Sunday and is followed by another public holiday, the Day of Goodwill, which originally meant that the 2022 calendar promised only 11 of the 12 public holidays that South Africans are entitled to in terms of section 1(1) of the Act. While we await the official declaration in the Government Gazette, there is no doubt from the presidential press release that 27 December is set to be enjoyed as a public holiday this year.

This decision will have an impact on employee remuneration (see our previous newsflash where we discuss the employment law implications of the President’s declaration here). Employers are reminded to structure employee remuneration in accordance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 9 of 1997 (BCEA), read together with the Act:

  • Employees who are expected to work on 27 December 2022, despite it being a public holiday, are entitled to be paid a minimum of double their normal wages for the day or their normal wage plus the wage for the time worked on the holiday, whichever is higher;
  • Employees who are not ordinarily expected to work on public holidays but are requested to work on 27 December 2022 must be paid their normal wage plus the wage they earned for the work performed on the holiday; and
  • Employees who will not work on 27 December 2022 are entitled only to their normal wage for the day without having the day allocated as annual leave.