Can employers force employees to take paid leave during the COVID-19 lockdown period?

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Published: March 30, 2020

In a statement issued on 26 March 2020, the National Department of Employment and Labour has advised that the Basic Conditions of Employment Act allows employers to determine the time that employees can take their annual leave. Therefore, during the lockdown period, an employee may be requested by their employer to take annual leave from his/her annual leave credits.

Chief Director of Labour Relations Thembinkosi Mkalipi has advised that “in as much as employers are within their rights to insist that employees take annual leave during the lockdown, as the Department, we encourage employers not to request employees to utilise their annual leave credits for the lockdown, but to rather utilise the financial assistance that the department has placed at their disposal through the COVID-19 Temporary Employer/Employee Relief Scheme (TERS) in cases where companies cannot afford to pay employees”

See full details of the statement here.

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