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In Labour Newsby Jan Truter18 Comments

Question: Does the concept of a “casual” still exist?

Answer: No, there is no reference in our labour legislation to the concept of a “casual” labourer.

Brief explanation: The old Basic Conditions of Employment (BCEA) of 1983 referred to casual labourers as those who worked for three days or less per week. They did not enjoy the same protection as other employees. However, since the introduction of the BCEA of 1997, the concept of "casual labour" in this sense has fallen away. Anybody who is employed for 24 or more hours per month is entitled to the protections regarding working time, leave, etc. provided by the BCEA of 1997 (as amplified or varied by Sectoral Determinations or Bargaining Council agreements in certain industry sectors). Someone who works for less than 24 hours per month can perhaps still be referred to as a “casual” worker in a loose sense, but bear in mind that they remain fully fledged employees for purposes of the protections of the LRA and EEA.

Note: These snippets of information are based on frequently asked questions and will be circulated to subscribers on a regular basis. Labourwise subscribers are invited to submit questions on matters that they believe would be of general interest to employers.

Disclaimer: The material above is provided for general information purposes only and does not constitute legal or professional advice. Neither the author nor the publisher accepts responsibility for any loss or damage that may arise from reliance on information contained in this article.


  1. Hi, my part time worker has been with me for a year, and works more than 24hrs a month. Does annual leave only apply to part time workers that have been employed for a year or longer or does it also apply to other part time workers who have been with me for a few months as well – (calculated 1 days leave per 17 days worked). Thank you

    1. Author

      Reply to Ryan: Accrual of annual leave applies to all employees who are employed for more than 4 months. After the first 4 months the accrual is restrospective from the date of employment.

  2. Pls can I get some info
    I have staff renting a room on my premises
    I have no contract or any formal agreement .
    If I want to dismiss them which is the correct procedure to do so

    1. Author

      Reply to Roxanne: The fact that there ar no formal contracts does not change the way you go about dismissing employees – the normal pre-dismissal procedures (i.e. Dismissal Guidelines issued in terms of the Labour Relations Act) apply.

  3. I had a gardener who worked 1 day a week for 8 hours a day. We are moving and I won’t be able to use him any more. What responsibilities do I have in paying him off. He is also a foreigner and not a local chap.

    1. Author

      Reply to Margie: You would have to follow the retrenchment process. As someone who has been working for more than 24 hours per month, he would have accrued leave. He would also be entitled to notice (or payment in lieu of notice) and severance pay based on one week’s pay (in your case one day’s pay) per completed year of service. The fact that he is a foreigner does not change the situation.

  4. I have worked for a cleaning contractor based on a site. i work monday to friday 7:30 till 16:30 , Im told I have no sick leave benefits , If i submit doctors note im told its unpaid bcoz im casual , I have worked at the site where im deployed since 11/07/2015 till today on continous basis , Are my rights not infriged , I think i should be considered for a permanent position . Can you advise me please.

    1. Author

      Reply to Bongani: You should have all the rights and protections afforded by labour legislation. I suggest that you first try to resolve the matter with your employer. If it remains unresolved you can approach the Department of Labour.

  5. What is the rate per day for a casual in the Wholesale and Retail sector. Person worked one day.

    1. Author

      Reply to Harriet: The current rate for a “general assistant” in an urban area who works for less than 27 hours per week is R14,89 per hour.

  6. A part time worker – is he entitled to how many sick and leave days
    should you dismiss them do you neeed to gothrough the normal hearign process or not.

    1. Author

      Reply to Pieter: A part time worker is entitled to sick leave (per 3 year cycle) calculated on the number of days the employee normally works in a six week period. A part time employee is also entitled to protection against unfair dismissal.

  7. How do I pay a cleaner who comes once a week and works 08 hours, is he/she entiled to other benefits?

    1. Author

      Reply to Pakama: As she works for more than 24 hours per month, she would be entitled to additional benefits such as annual leave (calculated at 1 day’s leave per 17 days worked), sick leave and family responsibility leave.

  8. I would like to know how much the minimum wage are for a casual worker per week. I am in the hospitality sector. Thank you.

    1. Author

      Reply to Juanita: If the “casual” eployee works for 24 hours per month or more, the normal minimum hourly rate for the hospitality sector will apply – see the applicable rates on the Labourwise website

  9. I would like to know whether an (ex)employer can give a potential employer details such as the person being “fired”, drinking on duty, etc.? Just to clarify a discussion in our office.
    Thanks 🙂

    1. Author

      Reply to Jane: An employer may state the true reason for termination, but could be on dangerous turf if it is not absulutely accurate and justifiable (possible civil claim for damages). Be careful!

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