Basic Facts

South Africa, officially known as the Republic of South Africa (RSA) and nicknamed Mzansi, is a country that boasts a wide variety of cultures, languages, and religions. With a surface area covering 1,219,602 square kilometers, South Africa’s economy is mainly driven by the mining, transport, energy, manufacturing, tourism, and agriculture sectors. It also has a coastline that extends up to 3,000 kilometers. It is bordered by Namibia, Botswana, Zimbabwe, and Eswatini and it entirely surrounds Lesotho in the east.


*Please note that the official currency is the currency of remuneration when employed through WorkMotion in South Africa.

Capital :
Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (judicial), and Bloemfontein (legislative)
Currency :
South African Rand (R, ZAR)
Languages spoken :
English, Afrikaans, Sepedi, Sesotho, Setswana, siSwati, Tshivenda, Xitsonga, isiNdebele, isiXhosa, and isiZulu.
Population :
60.04 million (2021 est.)
Minimum wage 2023 :
R27.58 (hourly)
Cost of Living index :
$$$ (78 of 139 nations)
Payroll Frequency :
VAT - standard rate :
GDP - real growth rate :
4.9% (2021 est.)

Statutory Holidays

The national holidays mentioned below are valid for the year 2024.

Holiday Name
Extra Information
January 1
New Year’s Day and Holiday
March 21
Human Rights day
March 29
Good Friday
April 1
Family Day
April 27
Freedom Day
May 1
Workers' day
May 29
Election Day
2024 only
June 16-17
Youth day
August 9
National Women's Day
September 24
Heritage Day
December 16
Day of Reconciliation
December 25
Christmas Day
December 26
Day of Goodwill

Contract Sharing Time

The approximate time for sharing the contract with an employee in the South Africa is 4 business days assuming no special requests or changes to our standard employment contract. Any such requests or changes would need to undergo internal and external review, directly leading to a time delay.

NOTE: This number is subject to change and is only an estimation of the Contract Sharing Time. The estimated Contract Sharing Time begins from the moment that WorkMotion has received all required information from both the client and the employee.

What You Need To Know

  • South Africa has one of the lowest social security taxes. Employers only contribute 2% of the gross salary towards social security plus a variable premium towards accident insurance.
  • Fixed-term contracts for employees who earn less than R241,110.59 per year are limited to three months. Unjustifiable extensions beyond these durations turn them into indefinite contracts.

  • Termination of employment by the employer should be substantively and procedurally fair.

Labor Conditions

Working Hours
  • The maximum normal working time allowed is 45 hours weekly. This is nine hours per day (excluding a lunch break) if the employee works a five-day week, and eight hours per day (excluding a lunch break) if the employee works more than five days per week.
  • An employer must give an employee who works continuously for more than five hours, a meal interval of at least one continuous hour.
  • An employer may not require or permit an employee to work overtime except in accordance with an agreement. 
  • The maximum permissible overtime is three hours on any one day or 10 hours in a week.
  • An employer must pay an employee at least one and a half times the employee’s wages for overtime worked.
Probation Period

There is no prescribed time limit set for a probation period, but it should be reasonable. The length of the probationary period should be determined with reference to the nature of the job and the time it takes to determine the employee’s suitability for continued employment.

Termination Notice Period

The following notice guidelines are for both employers and employees. The notice must be in writing, except for a worker who cannot write. If one cannot write, they can give verbal notice.


Service period Notice period
6 months or less 1 week
From 6 months to 1 year 2 weeks
More than a year 1 month

Leave / Time Off

Annual Leave

Employees are entitled to 21 consecutive days’ annual leave or, by agreement, one day for every 17 days worked or one hour for every 17 hours worked. Leave must be taken no later than six months after the end of the annual leave cycle.

Sick Leave

Sick leave is based on a 36–months cycle. During the first six months of employment, the employee is entitled to one day of sick leave for every 26 days worked (paid by the Company).

After that the employee receives:

  • 30 days if they work a five-day week; or
  • 36 days if they work a six-day week.

When distributed across three years, one may have 10 to 12-days paid sick leave per year on average. At the end of the 36–month cycle, the number of sick days resets. An employer may require a medical certificate before paying an employee who is absent for more than two consecutive days.

Parental Leave

An employee who is a parent is entitled to 10 consecutive days’ parental leave. Parental leave may commence on the day the child is born. The employee has to give at least one month’s written notice of the expected date of birth, as well as when the leave is due to commence and when the employee will return.


Maternity Leave

A pregnant employee is entitled to four consecutive months of maternity leave. Maternity leave may begin at any time from at least four weeks before the birth of the baby. Maternity leave benefits are funded by the unemployment insurance fund, provided contributions are made to the fund.  


Paternity Leave

There is no provision for paternity leave in South Africa but parental leave is provided instead. An employee, who is a parent of a child is entitled to 10 consecutive days of parental leave. 

Other Types of Paid Leave

Family responsibility leave

Those employed full-time for longer than four months can take three days of paid family responsibility leave per year: When their child is born or sick; or for the death of a spouse or life partner, parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, child, adopted child, grandchild, or sibling. The employer must pay an employee for up to three days of family responsibility leave the wage the employee would ordinarily have received for work on that day on the employee’s usual payday. An employer may want reasonable proof of the birth, illness, or death for which the leave was taken.

Unpaid Leave

There is no provision in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act that entitles an employee to take unpaid leave. Unpaid leave is referred to in the Act only in terms of what the employer is entitled to do when an employee’s sick leave or annual leave has been exhausted – the employer may then allow (or require) the employee to take unpaid leave.

Statutory Benefits

South Africa does not have a comprehensive social security system or a national healthcare program; consequently, no significant social security taxes are levied. Employers are only obligated to make contributions to the Unemployment Insurance Fund and Skills Development Levy (SDL) at the rate of 1% of gross remuneration in each fund plus a variable premium for accident insurance.

Employer contribution
Unemployment insurance fund
Skills development fund
Workman Compensation Fund)

Health Insurance

There is no official public health care insurance in South Africa. The public healthcare system is funded by general taxes and administrated by the Department of Health at a subsidized rate.  

Other Insurances

Accident insurance

If an employee gets injured, contracts a disease, or dies while working, they or their dependents can claim from the Compensation Fund. The Fund pays compensation to permanent and casual workers, trainees, and apprentices who are injured or contract a disease in the course of their work and lose income as a result.

Based on assessment from the labor authority, employers pay 0.3% towards the workman compensation fund.


Unemployment Insurance

The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) gives short-term relief to workers when they become unemployed or are unable to work because of maternity, adoption leave, or illness. It also provides relief to the dependants of a deceased contributor.

The employer pays 1% of the gross salary to the unemployment insurance fund.

Public Pension

 In South Africa, the state offers an old age grant to people who are 60 years or older. It is a non-contributory grant, funded by general taxation.

Other Statutory Benefits

Skills development Levy

The Skills Development Levy (SDL) is imposed to promote learning and development in South Africa and is driven by an employer’s salary bill. The amount is paid by an employer on a monthly basis, has no cap, and amounts to 1% of the total salaries paid by the employer every month (including overtime payments, leave pay, bonuses, commissions, and lump-sum payments).

Employers will be liable to pay the SDL if they expect the total salary to be more than R 500,000 over the next 12 months.



The information contained in this Country Guide is provided for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject matter. The contents of this Country Guide contain general information and may not reflect current legal developments or address your situation. You should not act or refrain from acting on the basis of any content included in this Country Guide without seeking the advice or representation of a licensed attorney. WorkMotion Software GmbH disclaims all liability for actions you take or fail to take based on any content included in this Country Guide.

Information provided in this Country Guide is provided “as is” without warranty of any kind, either express or implied, including without limitation warranties of merchantability, fitness for a particular purpose, or non-infringement. WorkMotion Software GmbH periodically adds, changes, improves, updates, or removes information without notice, and assumes no liability or responsibility for any errors or omissions in the contents of this Country Guide. This Country Guide may contain links to other websites. WorkMotion Software GmbH disclaims all liability for the privacy practices or the content of such websites.