Public Holidays that fall on Sundays & Mondays

Public Holidays that fall on Sundays & Mondays

Human Resources, Payroll / eTorQue

With regards to the public holidays on a Sunday and the subsequent Monday public holiday, please see the legal opinion below.

Randfontein Estates Ltd v National Union of Mineworkers (2006) 27 ILJ 1200 (LC)

  • In this matter, Randfontein Estates sought an order declaring that where a public holiday falls on a Sunday, then the following Monday shall be a public holiday in substitution for, or instead of, the public holiday on the Monday.
  • Firstly, the question of – is it one public holiday or two public holidays? – was addressed.
  • The court held that the provisions of the Public Holidays Act are quite clear.
  • The act states that “the days mentioned in schedule 1 shall be public holidays, and whenever any public holiday falls on a Sunday, the following Monday shall be a public holiday.”
  • The judgement stated that a date determined to be a public holiday does not change its character merely because it falls on a Sunday. It remains a public holiday.
  • With regard to the question of payment – is an employee entitled to have both days off on full pay, thus getting a double benefit by being paid for two days off?
  • The judgement stated that the rationale behind section 2(1) of the Public Holidays Act (that both the Sunday and the Monday are public holidays) is to ensure that employees, who do not normally work on a Sunday, such as office staff, bank employees, or employees in any other organisation that is not open for trading on a Sunday, do not lose out on the benefit of having a day or for work on full pay – those employees have the Monday off on full pay as a public holiday.
  • Thus, those employees get paid only for one public holiday and not for two public holidays.
  • The reason is that these employees, who ordinarily work on Sundays, will get a double pay for working on the Sunday public holiday. Therefore, they have received the benefit. Similarly, such employees are entitled to the Sunday off on full pay, because it is a public holiday – they can therefore exercise that option, thus still receiving the benefit.
  • The judgement therefore ruled that employees are entitled to payment for only one public holiday.

This therefore means that employees who work both Sunday and Monday are only entitled to the benefit of one public holiday.