Answer to a question from a reader

Can my boss use my leave days during the lockdown?

The short answer

It depends on several factors

The whole question

Does my boss have the right to say I’ve used up ten days of my leave when he put me on leave under the national lockdown?

The long answer

Though the Labour Department asked employers not to force employees to take their annual leave, but preferably to assist them to survive the lockdown through applying for the UIF Covid-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) for them, your boss does have the right to require you to take annual leave at a time it suits him, in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

So if he paid you in full for the ten leave days while you were off, he can say you’ve taken ten days leave.

But if your boss was not able to pay your salary while you were off work and applied for the UIF Covid-19 Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) grant, he can offset the amount he received from the UIF TERS grant against the salary he paid you. The TERS fund does not pay your full salary, but only a portion of it (from 38% for the highest salary which is capped at R17,712, to 60% for the lowest salary which works out at R3 500).

In that case you would still be entitled to some proportion of the ten days annual leave you were required to take.

Answered on May 21, 2020, 8:58 a.m.

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