Answer to a question from a reader

My boss swears at me and sent fake details to the labour department. We don't get holiday pay. What can I do about it?

The short answer

Not registering you and sending fake details to the Department of Labour is a crime, as is not paying your annual leave or swearing at you.

The whole question

I've been working at my job for the past 13 years. 

My boss swears at me all the time and keeps me in every night for two hours to complete his work. 

I know we are not registered, as they sent fake details to the labour department. We have not received our three weeks holiday pay for the past four years. We receive no payslip and get paid cash. 

He always accuses us of stealing.

The long answer

Thank you for your email about the shocking conditions at your work.

In the first place, your boss is not allowed to swear at you. That is called “harassment” under the Employment Equity Act and is against the law. Every worker has the right to be treated with respect in the workplace, and you don’t have to put up with your boss abusing you.

You are covered by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act which regulates how you must be paid, the amount of annual leave you are entitled to, how much overtime you can be required to work and so on. Your boss is obliged to put up a summary of that act in a place where the workers can see it.

One of the basic conditions of employment is that on payday, your boss must give you a payslip statement showing the name and address of the business, the period for which the payment is made, and the employer’s wage and overtime rates. The payslip must say how many overtime hours have been worked, and include any hours worked on a Sunday or a public holiday. Any other pay like commission must be included and all deductions must be shown. Your boss has to keep a copy of every payslip for at least three years.

Not registering you and sending fake details to the Department of Labour is a crime, as is not paying your annual leave.

You don’t say whether you are a member of a union who could help you with these complaints, but if you are not, you could ask an organisation like The Black Sash to help you register a dispute with the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA). The CCMA is an independent dispute resolution body set up in terms of the Labour Act and it can investigate complaints about working conditions like yours. One of the Black Sash counsellors could agree to represent you at the CCMA, and they could also ask Adelaide Mokhehle what has happened to your complaint.

You can contact the Black Sash National HELPLINE (072-66 33 739 or 

Their Johannesburg number is (011) 834-8361 / (011) 834-8365.

If you want to contact the CCMA yourself, their website is, and their call centre number is 0861 16 16 16

You can also contact the Department of Labour at this number:

Department of Labour (Head Office):

Telephone: (012) 309 4000


Answered on May 15, 2019, 5:39 p.m.

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