“Averaging of working hours” refers to when employees work longer hours per day during a certain period, and shorter hours during another, however, their salary remains the same. Remember that you are allowed to “average” hours for a period of no longer than 4 months in the same year.
Let’s look at an example:
The employee maintains the same wage throughout the year, however during 4 months of the year (during summer), the employee works for 9 hours per day and for another 4 months in that same year (during winter), the employee works for 7 hours per day. The rest of the year the employee works for 8 hours per day. The hours “average” over the course of the full year and therefore the wage can remain the same. This is only allowed if the employee agrees to this system.
Important things to remember:
- There must be an agreement in place between employee and employer
- During the extended months, averaging of hours cannot be done for more than five hours per week, and must be reduced by the same number of hours for the same period of time later on
- Averaging of hours cannot be for a period of more than four months in any one year cycle
- This is not the same as “flexi-hours”
What does “flexi-hours” mean?
This is very different than the commonly known practice of averaging of hours in agriculture. Flexi-hours/time refers to the time period outside the core working hours, within which managers are flexible to define starting and closing times i.e. 07:00 until 08:30 and 15:30 to 17:00. In other words, if the worker can start work earlier, they can finish earlier, and vice versa. This should be stipulated in the employment contract before implemented in practice. Do not confuse this practice with averaging working hours over a 12-month period.
For more information, feel free to visit the SIZA Social Standard or go to Sectoral Determination 13 Section 12(1)(a) and (b).