There’s no prescribed time limit set for a probation period. The probation period must be reasonable, given the circumstances of the job.
The preferred practice in South Africa is six months probationary period for a new employee and three months probationary period for an internal transfer. Extensions to the probationary period are permissible if performance is not satisfactory.
Being on probation doesn’t give an employee any specific legal rights. An employee can be dismissed with one week’s notice while on probation.
The maximum normal working time allowed (section 9 BCEA) is 45 hours weekly. This is nine hours per day (excluding lunch break) if the employee works a five-day week, and eight hours per day (excluding lunch break) if the employee works more than five days per week.
It’s important to note that employees earning in excess of the earnings threshold are excluded from the BCEA provisions which regulate ordinary hours of work, overtime, compressed working weeks, averaging of hours of work, meal intervals, daily and weekly rest periods, Sunday pay, pay for night work and pay for work on public holidays.
The current threshold in effect from 1 March 2021 is an annual amount of R211,596.30.
Meal and rest breaks are unpaid and are, therefore, not included in the calculation of working hours. The statutory meal break is one hour, but by agreement between the employee and employer, this may be reduced to 30 minutes.
Overtime can only be required when there’s an agreement between the employer and the employee, and such agreement may not require the employee to work more than 12 hours in any day. An employee may not work more than 10 overtime hours in a week cycle.