Every year, there are a number of public holidays in South Africa.
The public holidays for 2019 are:
- New Year’s Day, Tuesday, 1 January 2019;
- Human Rights Day, Thursday, 21 March 2019;
- Good Friday, Friday, 19 April 2019;
- Family Day, Monday, 22 April 2019;
- Freedom Day, Saturday, 27 April 2019;
- Workers’ Day, Wednesday, 1 May 2019;
- Youth Day, Sunday, 16 June 2019;
- Additional Public Holiday, Monday, 17 June 2019;
- National Women’s Day, Friday, 9 August 2019;
- Heritage Day, Tuesday, 24 September 2019;
- Day of Reconciliation, Monday, 16 December 2019;
- Christmas Day, Wednesday, 25 December 2019;
- Day of Goodwill, Thursday, 26 December 2019; and
- New Year’s day, Wednesday, 1 January 2020.
Youth Day (16 June 2019) is the only public holiday that falls on a Sunday. The next day, Monday (17 June 2019) becomes an additional public holiday in terms of the Public Holidays Act. Both 16 and 17 June 2019 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 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.
Employers can expect requests for additional leave days on Friday, 22 March 2019, around Wednesday, 1 May 2019, Monday 23 September 2019 as these dates are convenient to employees to create long weekends.
It is expected that the election will be held in May 2019. Election Day usually is proclaimed as a public holiday.