Annual Leave: The Confusion by Luthando Mbali

In terms of section 20 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 

An employee is entitled to 21 consecutive days of annual leave on full pay in every leave cycle, this means a period of 12 months commencing from the first day of employment or commencing from the end of the previous leave cycle therefore whatever number of normal working days falls within that 21 consecutive days is the number of working days that the employee must be paid for. 

 Annual leave is accrued, meaning that the number of days to which the employee is entitled starts at zero and increases with the passing of time as the leave cycle advances. In essence, at the start of the leave cycle the employee would have zero days leave due to him/her and on the 17th day of the leave cycle, the employee would have accrued 1day annual leave.  

 Do you lose your annual leave should you not use it, or does it carry over to the next cycle? 

South African labor law stipulates that annual leave should carry over to the next leave cycle automatically even if you do not use it unless there is aMain Agreement or Collective Agreement containing different conditions where the company policy stipulates whether your annual leave can be carried over or not. That policy will take precedent over the labor law of the country.  

Remember: It is important that you read and understand your company policy regarding your leave. 

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