Tue, Jun 28, 2022

Learners and training providers can be guided by legislation. This post covers what the legal working hours are as stipulated by the Department of Labour (DoL).

The DoL posted Learnership legislation known as

Sectoral Determination 5 : Learnerships

This determination sets rules for Learnerships regarding:

  • minimum wages (what’s the lowest you can be paid)
  • working hours
  • number of leave days
  • termination (ending it) rules

This post is extracted from Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships.

Clauses 8 – 13


  1. ‘Day’ means a period of 24 hours measured from the time when the learner normally begins work (‘daily’ means that the times of work are repeated).


  1. (1) based on points numbered 8 to 18 in this legislation, an employer may not make a learner work more than-
  • 45 hours in a week;
  • nine hours in a day if the learner works for five days or fewer in week; or
  • eight hours in a day if the learner works on more than five days in a week.

(2) However, a learner and employer can agree to these extra times:

  • A learner’s ordinary hours of work may by agreement be extended by up to 15 minutes in a day. This means that learners must agree to this arrangement. It goes on to say that time may not be increased to more than 60 minutes in a week to enable a learner whose duties include serving members of the public to continue performing those duties after the completion of ordinary hours of work.


  1. (1) Sections 8 to 18 of this legislation, explains that an employer may not require or permit a learner-
  • to work overtime unless there is an agreement to work more than-
    • three hours’ overtime a day;
    • ten hours’ overtime a week.

(2) An employer must pay a learner at least one and one-half times the learner’s allowance for overtime worked.

(3) An agreement may provide for an employer to-

  • pay a learner not less than the learner’s ordinary allowance for overtime worked and grant the learner at least 30 minutes’ time off on full pay for every hour of overtime worked; or
  • grant a learner at least 90 minutes’ paid time off for each hour of overtime worked.

(4) (a)    An employer must grant paid time off within one month of the learner becoming entitled to it.

(b)  An agreement in writing may increase the period stated  to 12 months.

(5) An agreement concluded with a learner when the learner starts employment, or during the first three months of employment, lapses after one year.


  1. (1) An agreement in writing may require or permit a learner to work up to twelve hours in a day, inclusive of the meal intervals required, without receiving overtime pay.
  • An agreement may not require or permit a learner to work-
    • more than 45 ordinary hours of work in any week;
    • more than ten hours’ overtime in any week; or
    • on more than five days in any week.


  1. The ordinary hours of work and overtime of a learner may be averaged over a period of up to four months in terms of a collective agreement.
  • An employer may not require or permit a learner who is bound by a collective agreement to work more than-
    • an average of 45 ordinary hours of work in a week over the agreed period;
    • an average of five hours’ overtime in a week over the agreed period;
    • twelve hours in a day, inclusive of the meal intervals required in terms of clause 13.
  • A collective agreement lapses after 12 months.


  1. (1) An employer must give a learner who works continuously for more than five hours a meal interval of at least one continuous hour.
  • During a meal interval the learner may be required or permitted to perform only duties that cannot be left unattended and cannot be performed by another learner.
  • A learner must be remunerated-
    • for a meal interval in which the learner is required to work or is required to be available for work; and
    • for any portion of a meal interval that is in excess of 75 minutes, unless the learner lives on the premises at which the workplace is situated.
  • For the purposes of this clause, work is continuous unless it is interrupted by an interval of at least 60 minutes.
  • An agreement in writing may-
    • reduce the meal interval to not less than 30 minutes;
    • dispense with a meal interval for a learner who works fewer than six hours on a day.

More from Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships

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Florah Jan 30, 2018 at 11:02 pm

Good evening,
Kindly advise what times of the day learned can be on duty for learnership.
Is leaner allows to work at night or the shift like 12:00 to 21:00 or 15:23.


    Leonie Hall Jan 31, 2018 at 7:59 am

    Hi Florah
    Please send me your contract so I can see what it says. Check your emails, there should be a mail from me. If not, leave another comment here and I’ll try again.

Richard Feb 18, 2018 at 9:56 pm

Is’t posible for a learner to sign a warning form for not attending a meeting at the company is training him

    Leonie Hall Feb 19, 2018 at 6:33 pm

    It is possible – it may not seem fair, and perhaps it isn’t.
    Most times training providers and employers start off very strict and then relax. Keep your nose clean and if anything else happens – let me know.
    All the best
    PS. Remember to send your contract to us to be checked.

Khanyisa Aug 22, 2018 at 4:55 am

Is it possible for employers to decide to end your contract because you were absent for 2 days

    Leonie Hall Sep 18, 2018 at 5:11 pm

    Doesn’t sound right, go to the CCMA on the basis of an unfair dismissal if you believe you were unfairly treated.

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