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COVID-19: Placing employees on leave during lockdown

Apr 21, 2020




Dear employer

There has been a lot of confusion and misinformation regarding the right of employers to place their employees on leave during the lockdown period.

Reports have been doing the rounds that the Minister of Employment and Labour has stated that employers may not utilise annual leave during the lockdown period. Although it seems that the media may have somewhat misconstrued the comments made by the Minister, the Minister certainly did not clearly articulate the correct position but rather opted to tiptoe around the issue.

The fact of the matter is that, in terms of the Basic Condition of Employment Act, the employer is entitled to place his employees on leave at any time he sees fit, unless the contract of employment or other agreement stipulates that leave will be taken at a specific time.

Therefore, the employer is well within his rights to place employees on annual leave during this period.

This position has been further entrenched by the latest directives from the Minister of Employment and Labour indicating that employers who have placed employees on leave, as a result of the lockdown, may claim TERS benefits from UIF for the period and proportionally set-off these benefits against the leave taken by employees.

Therefore, this matter is now finally settled.



NEASA 24/7 NATIONAL HOTLINE: 086 016 3272





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