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Basic Guide to Working Hours (Farm Workers)

by Zopedol — last modified 2007-11-28 14:11
Maximum working hours, meal breaks, rest periods, and night work.


Sectoral Determination 13: Farm Worker Sector applies to all workers on a farm including -
  • domestic workers, and
  • security guards.
The sectoral determination does not apply to workers covered by -
  • another sectoral determination; or
  • a bargaining council agreement.

The Basic Conditions of Employment Act applies in respect of any matter not covered by this sectoral determination.


Maximum Working Hours

Number of days worked per week


Hours per day

Hours per week





1 - 5





6 - 7





Compressed Working Week

Workers may agree, in writing, to work up to 12 hours a day without getting overtime pay.
However, these workers may not work more than –
  • 45 ordinary hours a week
  • 10 hours’ overtime a week
  • 5 days a week

Night Work

Workers working between 8pm and 4am must –
  • get an allowance of at least 10% of the daily wage
  • have transport available to them.
Employers who require workers to perform night work on a regular basis must inform the worker in writing or orally (if the worker is unable to understand written communication) of any:
  • health and safety hazards associated with the work
  • rights to undergo a medical examination
    • before the worker starts
    • at appropriate intervals while the work continues
A worker’s hours may be changed to day work if -
  • the worker suffers from a health condition associated with the night work
  • it is practical

Meal Breaks

Workers must have a meal break of 60 minutes after 5 hours’ work.
A farm worker may be required to do work during a meal break, if it cannot be left till later and no one else who can attend to it.
A written agreement may –
  • reduce meal intervals to 30 minutes
  • eliminate meal intervals for workers who work less than 6 hours a day

Rest Period

Workers must have a rest period of –
  • 12 hours each day; and
  • 36 consecutive hours each week (must include Sunday, unless otherwise agreed)
However, an agreement may provide for a rest period of 60 consecutive hours every second week.
A workers daily rest period may be reduced to 10 hours if the worker -
  • lives on the property
  • meal interval lasts up to 3 hours

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