Tuesday | 07 April | 2020
Education: May my employer shorten my holiday to make up for the days learners have lost out on during the lock-down?
“I’m working for a private school. The employer wants to take some of our leave at the end of April as well as a part of our September holiday to make up for the days learners are losing in teaching time. So, we are not off at the same time as the learners, but we are forfeiting our holiday. Could you please give some advice in this regard?”
By Reon Janse van Rensburg
According to Dems Nel, a litigant working for Solidarity, the conditions of service of private schools differ from school to school and the rules and regulations the Department of Basic Education imposes on teachers in public schools do not apply to them.
The conditions of service of teachers working at private schools are determined by their employment contracts. However, the contracts must still comply with the requirements stipulated in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
The employment contract usually makes provision for allowing the employer to request teachers to work during their holidays from time to time, should this be necessary.
Section 20 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act provides that leave must be taken at a time that is convenient for the employer.
“Apart from that, we find ourselves in unknown territory and in an unusual situation. What is fair as far as both the employer and the employee is concerned, must be taken into account,” according to Nel.
Nel also points out that teachers’ work is of such a nature that they would normally not be able to perform their duties from home, and as such, the employer would be able to justify placing you on short-time, even applying the principle of no work, no pay as alternative. Your employer can therefore request you to take a longer holiday now instead of later in the year, and Nel recommends that employees agree to this.
As far as public schools are concerned, the situation is slightly different, Nel says. He says that teachers working at public schools have not yet received any official information from the Department of Basic Education.
Nel however says it will not have any impact on teachers’ leave as they do not actually have official leave days because their leave coincides with official school holidays.
He says that teachers working for government are still receiving their full salaries but points out that holidays could possibly be adjusted, which may have implications for those who have already made holiday plans.
* All information was correct at the time of publication.