Employers and employees are urged to take note of the public holidays for 2014, in particular the group of public holidays in April that may have a significant impact on working arrangements. This is according to Faan Coetzee, Executive Consultant in the Employment Practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr.
He says that Freedom Day (27 April 2014) is the only public holiday that falls on a Sunday this year. The next day, Monday (28 April 2014) becomes an additional public holiday in terms of the Public Holidays Act. Both 27 April 2014 and 28 April 2014 are thus public holidays.
“Two consecutive public holidays can have a significant impact on working arrangements and shifts, especially in workplaces that run a 24/7/365 operation. Employers should consider the effect on the workplace and implement measures to address the impact on work. Employers should also consider collective agreements and Bargaining Council agreements that impact public holidays, working arrangements and shifts” he says.
Coetzee notes that there is bad news for employees who are on strike on public holidays in that they are not entitled to any remuneration.
“They are only entitled to be remunerated for public holidays if they "ordinarily worked" on the public holiday (see section 16 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, no 75 of 1997). As they would not ordinarily work on any day during the strike, they would not ordinarily work on a public holiday that falls in the strike period. Thus, they are not entitled to remuneration for the public holiday during the strike.”
Coetzee adds, “Employers can expect requests for additional days off on Friday, 2 May 2014, Thursday, 25 September 2014, Friday, 26 September 2014 and Monday, 15 December 2014. Employers are advised to timeously make arrangements with employees who wish to take extra days off to work in those days.”
On 20 February 2014, the President of the Republic of South Africa signed a proclamation declaring Wednesday, 7 May 2014, a statutory public holiday. Employers should be further advised that this may result in employees requesting additional time off on Monday and Tuesday, 5 and 6 May 2014 following the public holiday on Thursday 1 May 2014.
The remaining public holidays for 2014 are:
- Human Rights Day, Friday, 21 March 2014;
- Good Friday, Friday, 18 April 2014;
- Family Day, Monday, 21 April 2014;
- Freedom Day, Sunday, 27 April 2014;
- Additional Public Holiday, Monday, 28 April 2014;
- Workers’ Day, Thursday, 1 May 2014;
- Election Day, Wednesday 7 May 2014;
- Youth Day Monday, 16 June 2014;
- National Women’s Day, Saturday, 9 August 2014;
- Heritage Day, Wednesday, 24 September 2014;
- Day of Reconciliation, Tuesday, 16 December 2014;
- Christmas Day, Thursday, 25 December 2014; and
- Day of Goodwill, Friday, 26 December 2014.