What are your rights as an employee if your employer has not paid you? 

Under some circumstances, your salary notification might pop in 2 days after the expected pay date due to banking with a different institution. But what happens when a few more days pass and no salary has reflected, even after you have checked with your bank? You may be tempted to wait it out and hope for the best, but as an employee, you are protected by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) No. 75 of 1997, provided you work for more than 24 hours a month.

Applicable law

As stated by the law, the payment periods acceptable for employers to pay their employees are daily, weekly, fortnightly or monthly. Section 32 (3)(a) of the BCEA states, “An employer must pay remuneration not later than 7 days after the completion of the period for which the remuneration is payable.” Should the employer fail to comply with this, the employee may then request, by letter of demand, an explanation from the employer. This letter may also be kept as proof for the employee should the matter require legal intervention.

Where to go

If the employee earns less that the threshold of R149 736.00 per year, they may approach the Department of Labour to lay a complaint of their non-payment. After filing the complaint, the Department of Labour will send an inspector to the employer to investigate the matter further, and an instruction of payment with an expected payment date will then be issued. Upon failing to comply with this instruction after various steps of intervention have been taken, then it will lead to some of the employer’s assets being sold to raise the outstanding monies.

Next steps if you have not received your salary on the expected pay date

This article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied on as legal or other professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your legal adviser for specific and detailed advice. Errors and omissions excepted (E&OE)

References:

Basic Conditions of Employment Act. (2017). [ebook] Republic of South Africa, pp.15-16. Available at: http://www.labour.gov.za/DOL/downloads/legislation/acts/basic-conditions-of-employment/Act%20-%20Basic%20Conditions%20of%20Employment.pdf [Accessed 30 Oct. 2017].

Retrenchmentassist.co.za. (2017). Employer’s Failure To Pay Your Salary. [online] Available at: http://www.retrenchmentassist.co.za/index.php/ra-newsletters/100-employers-failure-to-pay-your-salary [Accessed 30 Oct. 2017].