The Minister of Labour has announced that with effect from 1 July 2013, employees earning more than the monetary threshold of R193 805 per year will be excluded from protection under certain sections of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1998 (BCEA). The previous threshold was R183 003.
Employees earning more than the monetary threshold per year will be affected as follows:
- They cannot insist on only working a minimum of 45 hours in any week without receiving overtime pay and employers can require them to basically work until the job is done;
- They are excluded from the sections in the BCEA regulating compressed working weeks and the averaging of working hours;
- They cannot insist on a one hour meal interval;
- They cannot insist on daily and weekly rest periods between ending and recommencing work;
- They will not automatically qualify to be paid for work done on Sundays;
- They do not qualify for the protection afforded in relation to night work; and
- They are not automatically entitled to additional pay for work performed on public holidays.
In calculating an employee’s annual earnings for purposes of the monetary threshold, “earnings” means the regular annual remuneration before any deduction such as income tax, pension and medical payments. Earnings exclude contributions which the employer makes in respect of the employee (for instance contributions towards medical aid and pension funds). In particular, subsistence and transport allowance, achievement awards and payment for overtime work are not regarded as remuneration for the purpose of calculating an employee’s earnings.
The higher threshold means that the potential pool of employees who automatically qualify for overtime pay and for additional remuneration for work performed on week-ends and public holidays has increased and will no longer be the same as the pool of employees who qualified last year. Employers must therefore take some time to go through all their collective agreements, letters of appointment and polices regulating working hours and additional pay to ensure that they are updated and that employees are paid correctly with effect from 1 July 2013.