An employment contract is an agreement between you and your employer that says you agree to work for them on certain conditions. It tells you who you will work for, what work you will do, how much you will be paid and your position as an employee. Signing an employment contract proves that you have been hired to work and what the terms/conditions of employment are.

It will amount to unfair labor practice if workers’ terms of service (for example working hours) are changed unilaterally. Any changes must be made through consultation and in consultation with workers.

An employment contract must contain the following information:

  • The employer’s name and farm address.
  • The employee’s name, ID number, profession or job description, workplace/s.
  • Appointment date.
  • Pay/scale.
  • Overtime scale.
  • Other contract payments (eg bonus).
  • Usual working hours and working days.
  • Food/accommodation payments (must be calculated according to Article 8 of the Sectoral Determination: 13).
  • Other payments or benefits (payments in kind).
  • Payment period and payment date.
  • Deductions.
  • Leave.
  • Notice period for termination of employment or date of termination.
  • Employer’s signature.
  • Employee’s signature.

An employment contract protects you if a dispute arises between you and your employer. It also helps the Department of Labor to investigate complaints. Make sure you read and understand it before you sign it and keep a copy of your contract.

Pay slips contain important information that you as the employee need to check your wages/salary, taxes and deductions. Shops and government departments also need the information on your pay slip, for example if you want to open a new account as an employee. Your pay slip must have the following information contains:

The employer’s full name;

  • Address
  • Employer’s registration number for the Unemployment Insurance Funds (UIF)
  • Contribution to the Unemployment Insurance Funds (UIF)
  • The employee’s full name.
  • Occupation or job description
  • Payment for time worked
  • Payscale
  • Worked normal hours
  • Worked overtime hours
  • Hours worked on a public holiday
  • Payment for any other work you have done
  • Deductions, including your contribution to the unemployment insurance funds (UIF)
  • Net compensation after deductions.

Deductions are money that your employer deducts from your salary/wage before you receive it. There are two reasons why your employer can deduct money from your pay, namely:

  • If required or permitted by law, for example unemployment insurance fund, arbitration, award, damages or salary garnishment order (deduction orders)
  • If you agree to it.


There are several types of leave namely:

Holiday leave
If you work for an employer for at least four months a year, you are entitled to one day of paid leave for every seventeen days worked. Holiday leave that accumulates must be paid out at the end of the season or when your contract ends (if you work longer than four worked for months).

Sick Leave
You can take one day of paid sick leave for every 26 days you work. Sick leave is not paid out at the end of the season/when your contract ends.

Maternity Leave
Mothers usually take four weeks maternity leave before the child’s birth. This can last between six weeks and four months depending on whether you are declared fit to return to work. During this period you can make an application and claim for unemployment insurance fund (UIF)- benefits to the department of labor. If you go back to work and your baby is on the farm, you may get two breaks of 30 minutes each to breastfeed. If your baby is not on the farm, you can get a break to pumping out breast milk and storing it for your baby. While you are pregnant and for six months afterwards, your employer may not ask you to do dangerous work that could endanger you or your baby’s health.

Family Responsibility Leave
This applies when an employee’s child’s child is ill and needs to be cared for or if one of the following persons dies: the employee’s spouse or life partner, parent, adoptive parent, grandparent, child, adopted child, grandchild or brother/sister. in all cases it is the worker’s duty to notify the employer in writing of his/her intention to take parenting/adoption/surrogate leave.

Parental Leave (unpaid leave)
A carer who is a parent is entitled to ten consecutive days of parental leave commencing on the date on which:

  • The worker’s child is born or
  • An adoption order is granted by the court or
  • A child is placed in the care of the prospective adoptive parents by a court pending an application.

Adoption Leave (unpaid leave)
In the case where the worker legally adopts a child and where the child is under two years of age, the worker will be entitled to ten consecutive weeks of adoption leave or ten consecutive days of parental leave. This leave begins on the date on which the adoption order is granted or on the date upon which the child or children are placed in the prospective adoptive parent’s care pending an application.

Surrogacy leave (unpaid leave)
A prospective parent in a surrogacy agreement will be entitled to 10 consecutive weeks of adoption leave or 10 consecutive days of parental leave. This leave begins on the date the child is born as per the surrogacy agreement.

Termination of Service
Termination of employment means that you or your employer have decided to terminate your employment. There is a notice period that you must work after you have given/received notice before you leave employment. If you are entitled to a termination of employment wage it is worked out as one week’s pay for every full year you have worked for that employer. If you have lost your job and contributed to the unemployment insurance fund (UIF), you can apply to the department of labor to receive money while you are unemployed.

To contact the Rural Legal Centre, please visit 25 Le Roux Street, Robertson, Western Cape.

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