By Carol Tissiman

Carol TissimanThere are very few sectional title schemes in South Africa that do not have at least one full- or part-time employee working for them. Amongst others, these include gardeners, cleaners, security guards, and for larger schemes; supervisors, caretakers, and even in-house management teams. Employees play a vital role in the effective upkeep of a scheme, but very often, because sectional title schemes are not businesses aimed at making a profit, employees are left to their own devises and are not managed in line with applicable legislation.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act determines minimum standards that apply to any contract of employment. An employer cannot decide that these provisions will not apply, even with the agreement of the employee. The following article is a basic overview of some of the provisions of the Act applicable to any body corporate that has employees.

Definition of an employee

The Act includes a very broad definition of an employee, including any person who assists in carrying out or conducting the business of an employer or who works for another person and receives any remuneration. An employee who works more than 24 hours per month is automatically protected by minimum standards set out in the Act. Employers should be careful of words such as “casual’ and “temporary” when categorising an employee, as the Act does not recognise these descriptions.

Working hours and pay

Normal working hours (excluding overtime)
An employee may not be made to work more than 45 hours a week (Monday to Saturday). If an employee works a five-day work week, they may not work more than nine hours per day. If an employee works a six-day work week, they may not work more than eight hours per day.

Labour Law
Overtime work is voluntary. But if an employee has agreed in terms of the employment contract to work overtime when necessary, then the employee is obliged to work that agreed overtime. If the employee refuses to work the agreed overtime, they will be in breech of contract and the employer can take disciplinary action against him/her. Overtime must be paid at 1.5 times the employer’s normal wage, or an employee may agree to receive paid time off. A worker may not work more than three hours of overtime per day or 10 hours per week.  

Sunday work
In this sector, work on Sundays is generally voluntary and a worker cannot be forced to work on this day. If the employee works on a Sunday he/she must be paid double the daily wage. If the employee ordinarily works on a Sunday by agreement he/she must be paid one and one-half times the wage for every hour worked. The employer and employee may agree to the equivalent paid time off in return for working on a Sunday.

Public holidays
The days mentioned in the Public Holidays Act must be given as leave, but the parties can agree to alternative days off in lieu of a public holiday. Work on a public holiday is entirely voluntary – a worker cannot be forced to work on such a day. If the employee does work on a public holiday, or any portion thereof, they must be paid double the normal day’s wage for the period worked.

Breaks and rest periods

Meal breaks
A worker is entitled to a one-hour break for a meal after working not more than five hours. Such interval may be reduced to 30 minutes by agreement between the parties. If an employee is required or permitted to work during this period, remuneration must be paid at the normal rate.

Daily and weekly rest periods
An employer must allow an employee a daily rest period of at least 12 consecutive hours and a weekly rest period of at least 36 hours. The weekly rest period must include a Sunday unless it is otherwise agreed. The daily rest period may, by agreement, be extended to 60 consecutive hours for every two weeks or be reduced to eight hours in any week if the rest period in the following week is extended equivalently.


Annual Leave
Annual leave must be at least 21 consecutive days for full time workers or, by agreement, one day for every 17 days worked or one hour for every 17 hours worked. The leave must be granted not later than 6 months after the completion of a period of 12 consecutive months of employment. The leave may not overlap with any period of sick leave, nor with a period of notice of termination of the contract.

Sick leave
During every sick leave cycle of 36 months, an employee is entitled to paid sick leave equal to the number of days the employee would normally work during a period of six weeks. During the first six months of employment, an employee is entitled to one day’s paid sick leave for every 26 days worked.

Maternity leave
An employee is entitled to at least four consecutive months maternity leave. An employer is not obliged to pay the worker for the period for which she is off work due to her pregnancy. When on maternity leave a worker may claim maternity benefits from the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). The employer may agree to pay part of or a full salary/wage during maternity leave, but the employee will then not be entitled to the UIF benefit unless the remuneration she receives is less than one third of her salary.

Family responsibility leave

Employees who have been employed for longer than four months and for at least four days a week are entitled to take three days paid family responsibility leave per year of employment. This applies only to situations including when the employee’s child is born, or when the employee’s child is sick or in the event of the death of an employee’s spouse, life partner, parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, child, adopted child, grandchild or sibling.

Carol Tissiman is a professional HR Consultant, and the course convener for the UCT (Law@Work) Practical Labour Law Course. The course introduces the key areas of applicable South African Labour Law and focuses on the practical application of good business practice, procedure and governance in the workplace. The course aims to assist participants to get the best out of staff and to avoid the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) and Labour courts in the future.

Click here to learn more about the University of Cape Town (Law@Work) Practical Labour Law Course.


Article reference:
Volume 5, Issue 2, Page 3.
This article is published under the Creative Commons Attribution license.  


  • M van Staden
    24/02/2016 16:07

    I would like to know whether a admin employee may do renting out flats while employed by sectional tile body corp.
    She is working in the office from 8 to 12. And do renting and cleaning of flats for owners.

    • Paddocks
      02/03/2016 11:51

      Hi M van Staden,

      One would need to take a look at the employment contract entered into in order to determine whether the trustees of the scheme and the employee agreed to any restrictions and / or conditions in this regard. Should it be allowed in terms of the contract, it should be clearly defined as to when this business may be undertaken so as not to interfere with the employee’s responsibilities relating to the scheme.


  • Our Estate Manager has suggested a Christmas Bonus for our garden and security staff. The staff are not employed by the body corporate but by third party service providers.

    1. Surely the employer should be paying the bonuses?

    2. If the employer does not wish to pay a bonus, is it ethical and in good faith for the trustees to allocate body corporate funds for these bonuses?


    • Paddocks
      04/11/2016 10:04

      Dear Jen,

      Thank you for your comment. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,

  • Good day

    Under what “sector” do body corporate employees fall (for determining minimum wage)?

    Kind regards

    • Paddocks
      12/12/2016 13:14

      Dear Alex,

      Thank you for your comment. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,

  • boitumelo
    15/09/2017 05:09

    Is it necessary for trustees to register for uif,while the managing agent is contracted to do admin and pay services for garden,security and waste removal

    • It may not be necessary but form experience recommended. We have gardeners who have been working for the body corporate close on 20 years. Every time managing agents were changed, it affected their UIF and it seemed as though they moved from 1 employer to another. If the body corporate has its own UIF and Workmens Comp Registration number, the managing agent will pay over statutory costs against those numbers. It is better for the employees

  • Mientjie
    19/10/2017 08:49

    What is the requirements for the registration of schemes for WCA

  • Derryn Odayan
    24/05/2019 09:54

    Good Morning

    We have a permanent gardener who is employed by the body corp. We have decided that is more economically viable to outsource this function.

    Could we face possible action through the CCMA of Dept of Labour?

  • Beverley
    13/06/2019 16:12

    Do the trustees of a Body Corporate have the power to retrench employees without members approval>

  • Hi there, I work for a body corporate in an admin/caretaker position. Due to lockdown I have been working from home mostly but when needed for repairs etc gone to the premises. Levies have been paid by owners during lockdown. Are the Trustees allowed to withhold my salary?

    • Paddocks
      26/06/2020 13:48

      Hi Valeska,

      Thank you for your comment.

      This is something our attorneys would be able to assist with. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,

  • Eddie Ermitao
    02/07/2020 11:35

    Is it possible for a Body Corporate to be registered as an employer for UIF? The Body Corporate not being a registered company, what info is required to register? we have one gardener working for the Body Corporate that we want to register for UIF. How do we go about it?

    • Paddocks
      06/07/2020 10:35

      Hi Eddie,

      Thank you for your comment.

      This is something our attorneys would be able to assist with. Please email us on with regards to your matter, and we can provide you with a no-obligation quote, so that we can assist you.

      Kind regards,