There are a number of national public holidays that take place in South Africa every year. 

The remaining public holidays for 2018 are: 

  • Human Rights Day: Wednesday, 21 March; 
  • Good Friday: Friday, 30 March;
  • Family Day: Monday, 2 April;
  • Freedom Day: Friday, 27 April;
  • Workers’ Day: Tuesday, 1 May; 
  • Youth Day: Saturday, 16 June;
  • National Women’s Day: Thursday, 9 August;
  • Heritage Day: Monday, 24 September;
  • Day of Reconciliation, Sunday, 16 December;
  • Additional Public Holiday: Monday, 17 December;
  • Christmas Day: Tuesday, 25 December; 
  • Day of Goodwill: Wednesday, 26 December; and
  • New Year’s Day: Tuesday, 1 January 2019.

The Day of Reconciliation (16 December) is the only public holiday that falls on a Sunday. The next day, Monday, 17 December, becomes an additional public holiday in terms of the Public Holidays Act. Both 16 December and 17 December 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.

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 s16 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.

Employers can expect requests for additional days off on Monday, 30 April, Friday, 10 August, Monday, 24 December and Monday, 31 December as these dates are convenient for employees to create long weekends. Employers are advised to timeously make arrangements with employees who wish to take extra days off to work in those days.