Questions and Answers

If I do not have a written or signed contract is my employment still legal under labour law?

Even an unwritten contract is valid. So you would have a binding contract merely because of the fact that you are actually working for an employer which can be proved by witnesses, wage payments into your bank account, business cards or other means.

If I do not have a written or signed contract am I still protected by South African labour law?

Yes, the law protects all employees even if there is no written contract as long as you can show that you work for the employer

Can my employer sue me if I resign and do not serve my full notice period as stated in my contract?

Yes, as you have the obligation to abide by the contract and to serve the full notice period.

What can I do if my employer does not pay my salary, does not pay my leave, makes me work more than the normal or contractually agreed hours, fails to give me a pay slip or does not give me a letter of appointment?

Contact the Department of Labour on 012-309-4000 and arrange to go in to lodge a complaint.

Which Act deals with the issues covered under question 3 above?

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) unless you are employed by the State Security Agency or by a charity organisation as a volunteer. Also, some industries are covered by special legislation that provides variations of the BCEA’s provisions. This special legislation is in the form of bargaining council regulations and sectoral determinations, all of which are available through the Department of Labour.

Which is stronger, the provisions of the law or my employment letter/contract?

The law is stronger unless your employment letter/contract has clauses more favourable to you than the law.

To which level of employee does the BCEA apply?

Employees below senior management level earning below the statutory threshold (which changes from time to time and is currently at R17,119.44 pm).

If I do not have an employment letter or written contract, am I still entitled to be paid?

Yes, if you do your work; or, in the case where there is no work, as long as you are available for and willing to work.

If I do not have an employment letter or contract, am I still required to do my work?

Yes, the law requires you to do your work because merely by accepting the job you have contracted (even in an unwritten way) to do your work properly.

Am I allowed to have two employers?

Only if both employers specifically give you permission to do so.