Public holiday

South Africans will receive two additional public holidays – 27 December 2022 and 2 January 2023.
Image via Pixabay

27 December, 2 January: How public holidays affect SA workers

President Cyril Ramaphosa has officially declared 27 December and 2 January additional public holidays. Here’s how it affects SA workers…

Public holiday

South Africans will receive two additional public holidays – 27 December 2022 and 2 January 2023.
Image via Pixabay

To the delight of many South Africans, 27 December 2022 and 2 January 2023 have been officially declared additional public holidays on the calendars.

But what everyone really wants to know is how will the additional holidays will affect your work and employee remuneration?

ALSO READ: Just in: 27 December will be a PUBLIC HOLIDAY this year


According to the Public Holidays Act, South Africans are entitled to 12 paid public holidays per year. However, with consecutive holidays like Christmas Day – 25 December –  falling on a Sunday this year, and Boxing Day on a Monday, there was been a shortfall of 1 day.

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

Additionally, New Year’s Day – 1 January 2023 – falls on a Sunday. This means that it would formally be recognised as a public holiday the next day.

Following mounting pressure from trade unions, President Cyril Ramaphosa this week officially declared 27 December and 2 January public holidays.

The move was welcomed by the Congress of South African Trade Union (Cosatu).

Spokesperson Sizwe Pamla told EWN: “This is an important development that is going to benefit mainly migrant workers, who will get an opportunity to spend more time with their families.

“It will also benefit those workers who will be working during the festive season because they will be able to get the double pay on the 27 [of December].”


Speaking to BusinessTech, law firm 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.