Are you 100% sure your company’s complying with legal annual leave requirements? Get it wrong and the DoL will hit you with penalties

Simangele Mzizi, Fsp Business, 05 Dec. 2014

Tags: annual leave, leave, annual leave requirements, managing annual leave

A lot of employers think the DoL only gives out fines when you don’t comply with employment equity and COIDA requirements.

This isn’t true.

You can also get fines from the DoL if you don’t comply with your annual leave requirements.

As you know, the DoL conducts audits often. If, after this process, it finds you’re not complying when it comes to leave, it will hit you with penalties.

So how sure are you that you are complying?

Here’s what you need to know to be a 100% sure…

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Here are the two annual leave requirements you must comply with

#1: The Ultimate Guide to Annual Leave says you must give your employees at least 21 consecutive days’ of paid annual leave for each annual leave cycle.
21 consecutive days of annual leave equates to 15 working days and 6 weekend days (that’s three weeks of annual leave). The same applies if your employee works a six-day week.
This is one method you can use to work out annual leave.
If you don’t want to calculate leave this way, you can get your employees to agree, in writing, to let you do it this way:
  • You can give them one day’s leave for every 17 days they work or for which they must get pay; or
  • You can give them one hour’s leave for every 17 hours they work or for which they must get pay.
#2: The BCEA requires you to make sure your employees go on leave. It’s an offence not to do so. You have to make sure your employees take their annual leave during the legal timeframes.
Remember, you can’t pay your employees instead of giving them leave, it’s illegal. And you can’t deny your employee leave that’s due if you don’t have good reasons. A good reason would be your operational requirements over the festive season, for example.
That’s not all…

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To help you comply with your annual leave requirements, here’s what we recommend you do

  • Make sure your managers know how to work out annual leave. You can also ask them to give you quarterly leave reports. This will help you see whether or not they work it out correctly. If you find they’re doing it wrong, fix things before it’s too late.
  • Make it compulsory for all departments to give you their leave plans for the year. This way, you can make sure your employees take their leave. This will also allow your managers to plan ahead when employees go on leave.
  • Lastly, teach your employees about their annual leave rights. This empowers them to manage their own leave. They can ask for leave or schedule it with their managers instead of you always telling them to take leave. They can also challenge their managers if they deny leave without reason.
Now that you know your legal annual leave requirements, comply so you avoid DoL penalties.
PS: For more information on annual leave, check out The Ultimate Guide to Annual Leave.

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