There is a sectoral determination for the hospitality sector. This determination came into effect in 2007 and is a vital piece of legislation.

There are minimum wages set down, and this industry covers all employers who are associated with providing accommodation; preparing, serving and providing food, liquid refreshments and consumptions in hotels, motels, inn resorts, game lodges, hostels and guest houses.

It would include short-stay accommodation, self-catering accommodation, timeshare, camps, caravan parks, restaurants, pubs and taverns. It includes almost everything to do with hospitality and our tourism sector.

It should be noted that the ministerial determination for small business - those employing fewer than 10 workers - will fall under the small business determination.

No employer can hold back any payment from a worker or require a worker to pay the employer or any other person for the actual employment or the training of that worker.

Furthermore, any work equipment, tools or uniforms must be given to the employee at no cost.

Over and above this, the supply of anything necessary to ensure compliance with health and safety requirements cannot be charged for.

The wages must be paid in South African currency, either daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly.

The wages must be paid on the normal agreed pay day in a sealed envelope. Deductions can take place for medical aid, retirement funds, union fees, home loans and court orders.

We often hear of workers penalised for loss or damage to the employer’s assets. These deductions can only take place after a fair procedure has been followed by the employer, and the employee has been given an opportunity to show why the deduction should not be made.

The amount claimed from the employee cannot be more than the actual amount of the loss or damage.

Over and above all this, the deduction may not exceed one quarter of the worker’s remuneration.

An agreement in writing may allow the worker to perform commission work but the workers must receive a minimum wage over and above the commission. This minimum wage is set out in the sectoral determination.

If the employer requires the worker to sleep in, the employer is expected to provide the worker with food and accommodation for free.

The worker should normally work 45 hours a week with nine hours on any day if the worker works for five days or less than a week. More than five days a week, the worker must work eight hours a day.

Importantly, workers cannot work more than 10 hours overtime a week and cannot work more than 12 hours, including the hours of overtime, on any day.

All overtime must be paid at the rate of one and a half times the worker’s daily wage for the actual overtime worked.

Time off can be given within one month at the rate of 19 minutes paid time for each hour of overtime worked.

If the worker does not normally work on a Sunday, the employer then must pay that worker at double rate if the employee is expected to work on that Sunday.

However, if the worker normally works on a Sunday then such work would be paid at one and a half times the rate.

All work on public holidays must be done by agreement and if the worker is expected to work on that public holiday then at least double the worker’s daily rate must be paid.

All public holiday pay must be given to the workers on their usual pay day.

Night work is the real issue and any work performed after 6pm and before 6am the next day can only be performed by agreement, and that employee must be paid an allowance as extra payment.

If the transport cost for night time is more than the normal rate, then the employer must subsidise the transport.

For every five hours of continuous work, an employer must give a worker a meal interval of at least one continuous hour; if, however, the worker is required to be available during that meal interval, then the employer must pay the worker for that hour.

Only if there is an agreement in writing may the employer reduce the meal interval which is not less than 30 minutes.

All the workers in this industry must have a daily rest period of at least 12 consecutive hours between ending work and starting work the next day.

* Michael Bagraim is a labour lawyer. This column is kindly sponsored by O’Brien Recruitment.

** The views expressed here are not necessarily those of Independent Media.

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