Have questions? Ask us!

Employment in South Africa

South African employment law appears complex and confusing when looking from an outside view although in some ways there are many similarities to other countries. South Africa taxes residents on their worldwide income, whereas non-residents are taxed only on income sourced in South Africa or deemed to be from a source in South Africa.

South African employment laws are mandatory for any employees that fall within their jurisdiction. Therefore, they apply to foreign nationals working in South Africa.

For these and many other reasons the following are only guidelines in the broadest sense, and professional legal services are recommended when employing in South Africa.

Key points on employment in South Africa

There are several key areas to be aware of within South Africa’s employment regulatory framework, especially for companies that plan to initiate a full local office and human resources department. These challenges can be mitigated by use of a locally sourced payroll provider who is familiar with all of the South African laws and rules for both South African employees as well as foreign nationals.

Employee Entitlements

Information Explanation
Time Off Work ?

Family Leave

Employees who have been in employment with the same employer for more than 4 months and who work for the same employer for at least 4 days per week is entitled to 3 days Family Responsibility Leave full pay per annum, with the exception of Domestic employees whose entitlement is 5 days.

Employment Termination

Information Explanation
Termination of Employment ?

If the employee has not performed in a satisfactory manner, the employer cannot simply dismiss him. The employer must be able to show that a proper procedure of evaluation, counseling, guidance and training has taken place, that the employee has been given a reasonable opportunity (with the assistance of a fellow employee or representative (if required) to state his case and to state what they think is the cause of the problem, and to state and implement (within reason) what measures the employee suggests are required to rectify the problem.

Notice must be given in writing (except when it is given by an illiterate worker).

If the worker has been employed 6 months of less, 1 weeks notice is required.

If the worker has been employed for between 6 months and 1 year, 2 weeks notice is required.

If the worker has been employed more than 1 year, 4 weeks notice is required.


A collective agreement may reduce the 4 week notice period to not less than 2 weeks.

Official site: http://www.labour.gov.za/DOL/legislation/acts/basic-guides/basic-guide-to-termination

Outsourcing Employment Through a GEO Employer of Record Service

Companies entering South Africa can make a decision whether to use their own resources or to use a Global Employment Organization to handle employment and payroll responsibilities. A GEO solution is particularly beneficial when a company is looking to setup an office quickly with a manageable cost. The complexity of employment regulations in South Africa makes the use of a GEO advisable to ensure full compliance with employment laws, including the drafting of local employment contracts for workers.

The company that is expanding into South Africa contracts with the GEO to employ and payroll their staff on their behalf. The GEO then assumes the legal responsibility for these employees, sponsoring them on work permits if necessary, complying with local employment law and running their monthly payroll. This is especially useful to fulfill all of the specific withholding requirements for pensions and benefits, as well as documenting termination, probation periods and leave requests.

South Africa


  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.


Join over 1,000 professionals!

Subscribe to our monthly Global Mobility newsletter