Payroll and Benefits Guide - South Africa

South Africa


South African Rand



Employer Taxes


Date Format


Fiscal Year

1 April – 31 March

Fun Facts

South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation due to its diverse multicultural society

It is home to the famous Big Five animals: lion, leopard, elephant, rhinoceros, and buffalo.

South Africa has 11 official languages, including Zulu, Xhosa, Afrikaans, and English.

South Africa is the largest producer of platinum and the fifth-largest producer of gold in the world.

It has the third-highest level of biodiversity in the world, with a variety of unique plant and animal species.

The country has hosted the FIFA World Cup and won the tournament in 1995 for rugby.



Employee Payroll Tax

Contribution TypeRate
Unemployment Insurance1.00%

Employer Payroll Tax

Contribution TypeRate
Skills Development Levy1.00%
Unemployment Insurance/td>1.00%
Workers Compensation FundVariable


Payroll Cycle

In South Africa, there is no set payroll cycle. The payroll cycle is typically stipulated in the employment contract, which is to be agreed upon by the employee and employer. The payroll cycle can run monthly, weekly, or bi-weekly.

13th Salary

13th-month salary payments are customary in South Africa and should be paid in December of each year.

Work Hours and Week

The standard working week in South Africa can be no longer than 45 hours a week, 9 hours per day. Monday to Friday


Overtime pay is mandatory if work time limits are exceeded, with a maximum of 10 hours per week. Overtime is paid at 150.00% for weekdays (for employees earning below 205,433.30 ZAR annually) and 200.00% for weekends, but employees earning over the threshold are not entitled to overtime compensation. Contracted salaries cannot include overtime pay.


Paid Time Off

In South Africa, full-time employees are entitled to 21 consecutive days (15 working days) of paid annual leave, with a monthly accrual rate of 1.25 days (1 day for every 17 days worked), and unused leave can be carried over.

Public Holidays

12 Public Holidays are there. When a public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be a public holiday in lieu.

Sick Days

In South Africa, the amount of paid sick leave (at 100% of the employee’s regular rate of pay) is based on a three-year cycle.

Maternity Leave

In accordance with South African labor law, a pregnant employee is entitled to four months of unpaid maternity leave. The leave can be taken anytime from four weeks before the due date, and the employee must not return to work until six weeks after the delivery date

Paternity Leave

There is no statutory paternity leave in South Africa, as this is covered within the parental leave.

Parental Leave

New parents, including fathers, adopting parents, and surrogates, are entitled to Parental Leave of 10 consecutive calendar days when their children are born/given to the parent(s).


Termination Process

The termination process in South Africa varies based on the employment agreement, and employees are entitled to a certificate of service upon termination, including details such as employer information, employment dates, job description, remuneration, and, upon request, the reason for termination.

Notice Period

In South Africa, the notice period for a permanent employee is dependent on the employee’s length of service as below:

  • 0 – 6 months of service: 1 weeks’ notice
  • 6 months – 1 year of service: 2 weeks’ notice
  • 1+ years service: 4 weeks’ notice

The notice period for employees can differ and

Severance Pay

Severance pay, known as a transition payment in South Africa, is typically one week’s pay per year of employment, except in cases of poor performance or misconduct where no severance payment is required.

Probation Period

Probation Period

Probation periods in South Africa are typically three months, but longer periods can be used if deemed reasonable for the job’s circumstances and stated in the employment contract.



Any foreigner who wishes to work in South Africa has several options of temporary work visas. These include general employment, inter-company transfer, highly skilled migrant, or business entrepreneur.

South Africa offers abundant job opportunities for skilled workers in its growing economy and manufacturing sector, while employment prospects for unskilled or semi-skilled positions are relatively limited.

Two of the most commonly requested visas are:

Critical Skills Work Visa

Corporate Visa


The standard rate of VAT in South Africa is 15%.