Annual Shutdown and Vacation Leave

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  • A shutdown is when a business temporarily closes during slow periods of the year, such as Christmas and New Year. A shutdown is not the same as a stand down, a stand-down is when an employer sends employees home if there is no useful work for reasons beyond their control like a natural disaster or weather unsuitable for brick making. According to section 5 of the Industry CBA SI 56 OF 2020, an annual shutdown is defined as any period not less than fifteen days between the 30th of November and the 1st of March. During this period any establishment may suspend operations for vacation leave in terms of section 29.
  • The Labour Act [28:01] section 14A provides for vacation leave which accumulates at the rate of two and a half days per month and can accumulate up to a maximum of ninety days. What that means is that employers and workers must always ensure that vacation leave days do not accrue for more than ninety days for they will be forfeited.
  • Section 29(1)(b) of The Collective Bargaining Agreement for the Brick Making and Clay Products Manufacturing Industry SI 156 OF 2020 provides that, in the event that an establishment observes an annual shut down, the employees may be required to take their vacation leave during such annual shut down. What this means is that for the exact days the employee will be on annual shutdown, the employer will deduct the equal number of days from their accrued vacation leave days. This is subjective to the type of contract of employment, hence it applies to employees on permanent contracts. Employees on seasonal and fixed-term contracts may be paid cash in lieu of leave and can only be recalled after the shutdown at the discretion of the employer.
  • An employee who is on leave is entitled to full wages on the due date, as it applies when the employee is at work.
  • Public holidays are observed but in cases where an employer may require the employee to work on such a day then they shall pay the employee not less than double the rate.
  • An employee who is on annual shutdown is still employed and as such, all company & workplace rules still apply to that employee.

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