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Annual Leave is a must

As 2023 begins and employees are returning to work, it’s a good time to assess the status of your annual leave figures and begin to manage annual leave in a hands-on way, if you don’t do so already. Annual leave is important for employees because its helps to prevent burnout and fatigue, promote physical and mental well-being and increase job satisfaction and productivity. Taking time off from work allows employees to recharge and return to their tasks with renewed energy and focus. Additionally, taking leave can help to improve employee morale and reduce turnover. Overall, providing employees with sufficient leave can benefit both the employees and the employer.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) sets out the minimum conditions of employment that employers must provide to their employees. According to the BCEA, all employees are entitled to certain types of leave, including:

Annual leave: Employees are entitled to at least 21 consecutive days of annual leave for every 12 months of employment.

Sick leave: Employees are entitled to at least six weeks of sick leave per annum. In addition, an employee who is unable to work due to pregnancy or a related illness is entitled to up to four months of additional leave.

Family responsibility leave: Employees who are responsible for the care of a family member (such as a child under the age of 18) are entitled to three days of family responsibility leave per annum.

Parental leave: An employee who is a parent of a child is entitled to ten consecutive days of parental leave on the birth or adoption of the child.

It’s worth noting that that some employers may have more generous leave policies than the minimum required by the BCEA.

The BCEA also requires employers to keep records of leave taken by employees and to pay employees for leave taken in accordance with the Act.

It’s important to bear in mind that the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) ensures the employee’s rights for annual leave and an employer must allow the employee to take that annual leave. If the employer is not following the BCEA and is unfairly denying leave to an employee, it would be a violation of that employee’s rights.

If an employee is not able to take their annual leave due to operational reasons, the employer can provide the employee with time off in lieu (TOIL) in exchange for the leave that they were not able to take. TOIL is a form of compensation that allows an employee to take time off work in exchange for the overtime they have worked. This practice is not mandatory but it can be something that can be agreed between the employer and employee or included in the company’s leave policy.

It’s important to note that time off in lieu of annual leave must be taken within a reasonable period after the leave was due, as per Basic Conditions of Employment Act.