7 May 2019

South Africa: Minister Mildred Oliphant Implores Employers to Allow Workers Right to Vote

press release

Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant implores employers to allow workers right to vote

South Africa's Labour Minister, Mildred Oliphant has appealed to employers to allow workers to exercise their democratic rights through voting.

"I want to remind all employers that in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act that overtime work is voluntary and in unlawful for any employer to force an employee to work overtime without employees' consent. Unless entities that in whole or in part have been declared essential services wherein workers on that day will be performing essential service," Oliphant emphasised.

The Minister was expressing following numerous complaints received by the Department of Labour that certain employers want to force workers to work on the election day.

"If you force employees to work on election day note that you are violating and denying them their constitutional and democratic right to vote.

I therefore, encourage employers to release workers on Wednesday (08 May 2019) to go and exercise their democratic and constitutional right in casting their vote," Oliphant said.

The election day was declared a public holiday recently by President Cyril Ramaphosa in which he also urged South African employers to observe 8 May, the day of National and Provincial elections, as a public holiday and encourage staff to use the day to exercise their right to vote.

The proclamation was published in the Government Gazette.

Issued by: Department of Labour

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