The difference between part-time and casual work

In the South African working sector, The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) protects working individuals, including those working part-time or temporarily.


Casual workers in South Africa


Under the laws of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act,workers fit the profile, hence are protected, if they work for more than 24 hours a month. This means protocols are implemented to protect the worker in much the same way that the BCEA protects workers with permanent positions.


Workers who are exceptions and to whom certain laws do not apply include unpaid volunteers for charitable organisations, those working at sea (though they are protected by the Merchant Shipping Act), certain companies with fewer than ten employees, and members of national organisations like the South African National Defence Force or the South African Secret Service.


The minimum wage for casual workers is determined by the industry and is usually in line with that of permanent employees. Casual workers are granted the same holiday allocation as permanent staff. This is stipulated by the BCEA as a minimum of one day of leave for every seventeen days that have been worked. If this is not applicable, the same applies in terms of hours; for every seventeen hours worked, the worker gets one hour off.


Part-time workers in South Africa


Part-time workers in South Africa are those that work less than the average 45 hours a month.So if one works between 30 and 35 hours every month, one’s employment could be considered part-time. You will still be issued a contract and labour laws still apply if you have a fixed employment period whether it be mornings, nights, weekends or even one day per week.


If you have the necessary employment contract you are under the protection of the Labour Relations Act and the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Part-time employees are also immediately protected by the minimum standards set by the BCEA if they work for more than 24 hours per month.


A part-time employee is only distinguished from a permanent employee by the time worked, which is notably less time than that worked by a permanent employee at the same company. Part-time employees must be offered the same work-place opportunities as permanent employees when it comes to training and development and they should only be treated differently if it is justifiable by law. For example a promotion might be awarded to a full-time employee due to the fact that he or she is simply more experienced or produces a better quality of work – not because the employee is a permanent staff member.


Knowing the rights of your employees is crucial to running a successful business. If these are at all unclear or if you require legal services to settle a dispute, contact SERR Synergy for assistance in the form of labour relations for business services.

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