The employment contract

BusWomen.jpgNo matter how small your business or the number of employees you have, the South African labour law states that you must give your employees a written document that outlines in writing the terms and conditions of their employment. Not doing so, can land you in hot water somewhere along the line.

Based on Section 29 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA), anyone who works for you - whether they are full-time, contractors or temporary workers - must receive a document containing certain information regarding the conditions of their employment.

This can take the form of a letter of appointment or you can create something more formal and suited to your business. By getting your employee to sign the document, you can avoid disputes about whether or not it was given and what it contains.

Information that must appear in the document includes:

Employer and worker Details

  • Employer's full name
  • Employer's address
  • Worker's name
  • Worker's occupation, or a brief description of the work

Employment details

  • Place/s of work
  • Date of employment
  • Working hours and days of work

Payment details

  • Salary or wage, or the rate and method of calculating wages
  • Rate for overtime
  • Any other cash payments
  • Any payments in kind and their value
  • Frequency of payment
  • Any deductions


  • Any leave the worker is entitled to. Refer to the BCEA if you'r unsure of what this is

Notice/contract period

  • Period of notice required for termination or
  • Period of contract

The law requires that the contents of the document must be explained to the employee in a language he understands. You must also update this employment document and provide the employee with a new copy when:

  • The law changes
  • You and your employee agree to changes in the terms and conditions
  • You increase the employee's pay or benefits. In this regard, you can simply add a supplementary letter to the original contract

A legal contract does not have to be a lengthy, complicated document. Using these simple guidelines, you can write an employment contract that will fulfill all your legal obligations.

Source: Department of Labour

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