Public Holiday

Will President Cyril Ramaphosa declare 27 December an additional public holiday?
Image via Pixabay

More money? What an extra public holiday means for SA workers

Will 27 December be declared a public holiday? If so, here’s what will happens in terms of work and remuneration for SA workers…

Public Holiday

Will President Cyril Ramaphosa declare 27 December an additional public holiday?
Image via Pixabay

Calls are growing for 27 December to be classified as an additional public holiday on the South African calendar…and president Cyril Ramaphosa is feeling pressure from the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa).

According to the Public Holidays Act, South Africans are entitled to 12 paid public holidays per year.

However, with Christmas Day – 25 December –  falling on a Sunday this year, and Boxing Day on a Monday, there has been a shortfall of 1 day. 

But should the president oblige, how would the day affect your work and affect employee remuneration?

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In terms of the act, “whenever any public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be a public holiday”.

With consecutive days – Christmas Day and Boxing Day – falling on both Sunday and Monday respectively, South Africans have missed out on a full day’s public holiday.

Fedusa said in a statement: “Fedusa remains resolute that working South Africans should not be dealt a further injustice to their income security, already eroded during Covid-19, and must therefore be able to enjoy their full 12 paid public holidays”.

According to law firm Bowmans,  declaring  27 December a holiday falls under the decision-making of the president, as stipulated in the Government Gazette under section 2A.

A similar decision was taken in 2016 when Christmas Day also fell on a Sunday. Following an appeal by Fedusa, then-president Jacob Zuma declared Tuesday, 27 December 2016 a public holiday.

President Ramaphosa has yet to announce a decision.


Speaking to BusinessTech, Bowmans outlined what declaring 27 December a public holiday would mean to SA workers.

It reported: “If 27 December 2022 was to be declared a public holiday, employers, at minimum, would have to pay employees two days of labour without any work being done (Monday and Tuesday) and three days if Sunday is considered a working day.

“The remuneration costs would double if employers requested employees to work on these three days in December”

Additionally, according to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 9 of 1997 (BCEA), 

  • Employees who ordinarily work on a Sunday are entitled to a full day’s wages plus half the wages for each hour worked
  • Employers must pay employees who agree to work on a Sunday double the wages for each hour worked 
  • If an employer requires you to work on a public holiday, which falls on a day you are expected to work, the employee is entitled to be paid a minimum of double the standard wages for the day 
  • If the employee is not ordinarily expected to work on that PH but is requested to do so, they must be paid their standard daily wage plus the wage for the time worked on the day.
  • However,  employees who do not work on PH that fall on days they would ordinarily work are entitled only to their standard wage for the day without having the day allocated as annual leave.