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Night Shift Allowance

A night shift allowance – What is it?

I received a question from one of my E-mail subscribers recently about his night shift allowance. I answered his question directly via e-mail, however it did get me thinking that maybe I should put together a quick post on the subject of these allowances. Especially because if you are employed in the hospitality industry there is a very good chance that you have worked or will work night shifts at some point. Even if you are not employed in the hospitality industry any work conducted after 18:00 can reasonably be considered night work. Anyway, here is a brief blog on the topic of the night shift allowance.

It is very common for staff in the hospitality industry, and many other industries to work a night shift. Generally speaking a night shift is work conducted after 18:00 and before 06:00. The Basic Conditions of employment act states that an employer may only require or permit an employee to work a night shift, if agreed, and if;

(a) the employee is compensated by the payment of a night shift allowance, or by a reduction of working hours; and

(b) transportation is available between the employee’s place of residence and the workplace at the start and end of the employee’s shift.

As you can see from point (a) above it is not very clear what a night shift allowance should be. Who should decide?

Here are the facts you need to know.

1) The Sectoral Determination 14: Hospitality Sector does not prescribe what this allowance must be. It is an allowance for the fact that night work is being rendered and is not based on the hours worked or the hourly rate paid to each employee.

2) The allowance ought to be set out in the employment contract and ought to be agreed upon between the parties. However, the employer can also unilaterally stipulate what the allowance will be, across the board for all night shift employees.

3) As stated above, a night shift allowance can also come in the form of reduced working hours. For example, the working hours of the staff member may be reduced from 9 to 7. However, they will be paid for the full 9 hours.

It is always advisable that an employer consults with employees before making this decision. However, it is clear that the employer is able to make this decision without consulting staff members. I would hope that employers are fair, but this is not always the case.

Thanks for checking out this blog. And please let me know if you have any questions in the comments below.


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