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Overtime Calculation: How is Overtime Calculated?

BASIC OVERTIME GUIDELINES – Understanding Overtime Calculation

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act applies to all employers and workers, but not –

  • members of the –
    • National Defence Force,
    • National Intelligence Agency, or
    • South African Secret Service; or
  • unpaid volunteers working for charity.

The section of the Act that regulate working hours does not apply to:

  • workers in senior management
  • sales staff who travel and regulate their own working hours
  • workers who work less than 24 hours in a month
  • workers who earn in excess of an amount stated in terms of  section 6 (3) of the Act

    • workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions.
  • workers engaged in emergency work are excluded from certain provisions.

An employee’s decision to engage in overtime work must always be agreed upon and undertaken on a voluntary basis.

Overtime Calculation

Payment for overtime must be:

  1. Calculated by using a (1.5x) rate of pay—at minimum—of that of an employee’s normal working hours rate;


  1. Calculated at a normal (1x) rate of pay, with an additional 30 minutes time-off for every hour of overtime that was worked. This time-off must be granted within 1 month
  1. An employee may not exceed the working of 3 hours overtime (on any given day)
  1. An employee may not exceed the working of 10 hours overtime (in any given week)
  1. Alternatively, if monetary payment will not be paid, 90 minutes time-off may be granted (in lieu of overtime worked by the employee). In other words, for every 1 hour of overtime that an employee has worked, he/she will be entitled to receive 90 minutes time off at some other time during their normal working hours.
  1. Once an employee has worked a number of overtime shifts, they must receive their overtime payment within one month of those shifts. However, upon prior mutual agreement (between an employee and his/her employer) the payment of overtime may be delayed for a period of up to 12 months thereafter.

Sundays and Public Holidays

If the Sunday is not a normal working day, then overtime must be calculated using the ‘double-time’ rate (2x) of an employee’s normal working hours rate.

Alternatively, an employee may be given time-off during their normal working hours.

If a Sunday shift is regarded as a “normal” working day (in terms of the employee’s shift roster) then the he/she must be paid at a rate of (1½x) that of his/her normal working hours rate. If the majority of the shift does not fall on the Sunday, then no additional payment is required.

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