Hire employees
and contractors in South Africa

Remote’s guide to employing in South Africa.

Capital city
Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judicial)
South African rand (R, ZAR)
Population size
59,622,350 (2019 est.)
Primary language of business

Facts & stats

South Africa, Republic of South Africa, is the southernmost country in Africa. With over 59 million people, it is the world's 24th-most populous nation. South Africa is a developing country and ranks 113th on the Human Development Index, the seventh-highest in Africa. It has been classified by the World Bank as a newly industrialised country, with the second-largest economy in Africa, and the 33rd-largest in the world.

South Africa Map
  • Capital city
    Pretoria (executive), Cape Town (legislative), Bloemfontein (judicial)
  • Currency
    South African rand (R, ZAR)
  • Primary language of business
  • Population size
    59,622,350 (2019 est.)
  • Ease of doing business
  • Cost of living index
  • Payroll frequency
  • VAT - standard rate
  • GDP - real growth rate
    0.7871% (2018 est.)

Grow your team in South Africa with Remote

Employing in South Africa requires employers to own a legal entity in the country and manage payroll, tax, benefits and compliance through their own in-country resources. The complexity of employment regulations in South Africa makes full compliance with employment laws a burdensome process.

Through Remote’s Global Employer of Record solution, your team is employed by our local legal entities in each country, and we take care of payroll, tax, benefits and compliance so you can focus on what matters most -- your people.

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South Africa risks illustration

Risks of misclassification

South Africa, like many other countries, treats self-employed individuals or contractors and full-time workers differently and there are risks associated with misclassification.


Employing in South Africa

Employment law in South Africa is not contained under a single law and is informed by the Constitution of the Republic of South Africa, common law and specific labour legislation. In general, South African labour law is divided into two areas: collective labour law and individual employment law.

Collective labour law governs the relationship between employers and trade unions, disputes, wage agreements, strikes, lockouts, etc.. Legislation related to this is all contained under the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1996 (LRA). Individual employment law relates to the law that govern the minimum terms and conditions of employment, regulation of terminations and disputes concerning unfair dismissal, labour practices, and discrimination claims.

Public holidays

Date Holiday Name Extra information
New Year's Day
Human Rights Day
Good Friday
Family Day
Freedom Day
Worker's Day
Youth Day
National Women's Day
Public Holiday
Heritage Day
Day of Reconciliation
Christmas Day
Day of Goodwill

Minimum hourly wage is 20 ZAR, except for farm workers who have a minimum of 18 ZAR, domestic workers who have a minimum of 15 ZAR and Expanded Public Works Programme workers who have a minimum of 11 ZAR.

For customers of Remote, all employee payments will be made in equal monthly instalments on or before the last working day of each calendar month, payable in arrears.
We can help you get a new employee started in South Africa fast. The minimum onboarding time we need is only 2 business days prior start date.

Our team ensures your employees are onboarded and paid as quickly as possible while keeping your business compliant with all local employment legislation. The minimum onboarding time begins after the employee submits all required information onto the Remote platform. The onboarding timeline is also dependent upon registration with local authorities.

For all non-nationals of the country of employment, the Right to Work assessment (if applicable) will add three extra days to the total time to onboard. There may be extra time required if we need to follow-up on the right to work assessment.

Please note, payroll cut-off dates can impact the actual first day of employment. Remote has a payroll cut-off date of the 10th of the month unless otherwise specified.


Competitive benefits package in South Africa

Besides providing your employees with all statutory benefits in South Africa, Remote can advise on and arrange for custom benefits and perks for your employees upon request.

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Taxes in South Africa

Learn how employment taxes and statutory fees affect your payroll and your employees’ paychecks in South Africa.

  • Employer

    • 1% - Skills Development Levy (SDL)
    • 1% - Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)
  • Employee

    • 1% - Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)
    • 18% - Up to 205,900
    • 37,062 + 26% of taxable income above 205,900 - 205,901 - 321,600
    • 67,144 + 31% of taxable income above 321,600 - 321,601 - 445,100
    • 105,429 + 36% of taxable income above 445,100 - 445,101 - 584,200
    • 155,505 + 39% of taxable income above 584,200 - 584,201 - 744,800
    • 218,139 + 41% of taxable income above 744,800 - 744,801 - 1,577,300
    • 559,464 + 45% of taxable income above 1,577,300 - Above 1,577,301

Types of leave


All full-time workers are legally entitled to 21 consecutive days paid holiday leave a year. There are also 12 public holidays in South Africa that are not part of the holiday entitlement.

Pregnancy and
maternity leave

There is a general right to four consecutive months of unpaid maternity leave. The four months can start anytime from four weeks before the expected birth date or earlier if a medical practioneer supports it as necesarry for the employee's health. After the birth, six weeks are mandatory regardless of stillbirth or not.

Individual employment contracts can provide more favourable and longer terms than the above.


An employee who is a parent but not the primary caregiver is entitled to at least ten days of consecutive unpaid parental leave from the day of the birth.

  • Adoption: upon adoption of a child under the age two, employees are entitled to at least ten weeks of adoption. Applies to the primary caretaker. The leave can commence on the date of the adoption is granted or the date the child is placed in their care.


Termination process

South African employers are able to terminate an employee at will. Dismissals can happen for the following reasons:

  • Dismissal without notice for misconduct (for example in the case of theft or other serious misconduct);
  • Dismissal due to incapacity (for example due to health or poor performance), usually after opportunity to meet performance standards;
  • Dismissal due to operational requirements for the company; or
  • Termination by separation agreement, agreed upon by the employee and employer.

Notice period

The statutory notice period for an employer depends on the duration of employment:

  • Less than 6 months: 1 week
  • Between 6 months and 1 year: 2 weeks
  • Between More than 1 year: 4 weeks

Probation periods

Probationary periods are permitted and must be reasonable with regards to the lenght to determine whether the employee is suitable for the job. 3 to 6 months is fairly commonplace.

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