Loadshedding: Can your employer stop paying you for hours lost?

Employers and employees can reach an agreement to lessen the impact of loadshedding.

Loadshedding has serious implications that both you and your employer should understand.

Load shedding is a dim reality for both you and your boss. While your work may come to a complete halt due to loadshedding, your boss has to deal not only with redundancy, but also the possibility of an increase in costs.

In an attempt to decrease mounting costs due in part to your inability to perform your tasks, your boss may feel inclined not to pay you. Which begs the question: Does 'no work, no pay’ apply in cases of loadshedding?

The simple answer: No

Information released by Werksman Attorneys concludes that as long as you arrive at work and offer your services, you are well in your right to your receive a full day’s pay.

“Our common and labour laws are clear – if the employer expects the employees to be at work at a specific time and on a specific day and the employees comply with these requirements, the employer is obliged to pay them for that time,” states the firm.

An agreement can be reached

Nonetheless, this doesn’t mean that during loadshedding you can leave the office to run your household errands and expect your employer to simply pay up. There are procedures that apply to interruptions in production, which if agreed upon between you and your employer, can lessen the impact of blackouts on labour costs.

Watch: Shedding light on rights for workers and businesses

For instance, some industries such as the Metal and Enginnering industry, have in terms of a contract, realised that the best way to get the most out of power down time is to differentiate between planned and unplanned load shedding. Therefore, when Eskom cannot inform the public of exactly when loadshedding will occur, employers within these industries can:

- Elect to send the employees home, provided they shall receive not less than four hours’ work or pay in lieu thereof; or

- Expressly instruct employees sent home to return, where the employer believes work can be resumed, provided the employees shall receive not less than four hours’ work or pay in lieu thereof

Overtime should be compensated

If your boss requires that you make up for lost time, by working overtime, you’ll need to be paid overtime rates; calculated at one-and-a-half of your ordinary rate.

Load shedding is considered a factor that causes operational challenges, says Werkmens Attorneys. The onus is on the employer to respond to that operational challenge as it would respond to any other challenge.

To learn more about your rights as an employee, visit Careers24 Advice's column.