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BCEA – Deductions

Often employers make unlawful deductions from workers’ wages  however deductions from wages are not permitted without the written consent of the worker other than those required by law.  We have listed below some of the unlawful deductions that occur and a list of the lawful deductions permitted.

Unlawful deductions from workers’ wages:

  •  When there are shortages in a till, the worker has to pay back the shortages
  •  The worker breaks something at work
  •  The worker owes the employer money, but did not agree that the amount owing should be deducted
  •  The worker is off sick and the employer deducts money for the days not worked
  •  The worker is absent from work without leave (permission to take annual, family responsibility or maternity leave, or being sick)

If an employer wants to deduct a fine from a worker’s wage, to compensate the employer for loss or damage, the employer can only deduct the fine if:

  •  The loss/damage happened during the ‘course and scope of employment’
  •  The worker was at fault
  •  A fair hearing was held to give the worker a chance to state her or his case
  •  The employer does not deduct more than the actual value of the loss or damage
  •  The total amount deducted is no more than 25% of the employee’s wages
  •  The worker gives consent in writing

Lawful deductions which an employer can make from the wages of a worker:

  • Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)
  • SITE (tax)
  •  Any deduction ordered by a court

The lawful deductions which an employer can make from the wages of a worker, if the worker instructs the employer in writing to make the deduction, are as follows:

  •  Trade union subscriptions
  •  Medical aid contributions
  •  Pension or provident fund
  •  Money to pay back a housing loan or other loan from the employer
  •  Money for food and accommodation
  •  For loss or damages suffered at work provided the employee has been given a hearing to explain the facts.