You and Your Rights: Private Security Workers


  • No security guard may be asked to work more than 48 hours per week or more than 12 hours per day.
  • Written agreement may do away with a meal break for employees who work less than six hours.
  • If a worker suffers from a health condition related to their night work, they must be switched to a day shift.
  • A worker may either be paid one and a half his regular wage for hours worked overtime, or accept paid time off instead.
  • The employer must provide workers with at least two items of protective clothing per year, free of charge.
  • A labour contract must be explained to the employee in language he or she can understand.



Your Rights

The Minister of Labour sets minimum terms and conditions of employment (including minimum wages) in certain sectors in South Africa, including the Private security sector. These are called ‘Ministerial Sectoral Determinations’ and they establish minimum wages, working hours, the number of leave days and termination rules. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act applies in respect of any matter not covered by the sectoral determinations.

Sectoral Determination 6 applies to all employers and private security workers who are associated with guarding and protecting:

  • fixed property,
  • premises,
  • goods,
  • people, or
  • workers.

This includes those monitoring and responding to alarms.

The determination does NOT apply to workers who are:

  • managers; or
  • covered by another –
    • sectoral determination, or
    • bargaining council agreement. 



Maximum ‘Ordinary’ Working Hours

A security guard may not be asked to work more than 48 hours in any week or more than 12 hours on any day. Any other category of employee can only be asked to work 45 hours a week and not more than 9 hours a day if they work 5 days a week, and not more than 8 hours a day if they work more than 5 days a week.

Averaging of Working Hours

The ordinary hours of work and overtime may be ‘averaged’ over a period of up to four months. However, a security officer can still not be asked to work more than an average of 48 ordinary hours and an average of 10 hours of overtime a week during this period. The employee must still be given a weekly free period of at least 30 hours or a fortnightly free period of at least 60 hours.

Compressed working week

An agreement in writing may require an employee to work up to 12 hours a day without receiving overtime pay. However, he or she cannot be asked to work more than 48 ordinary hours in any week and on more than five days in any week.

Working on granted days off

Workers may work on granted days off by agreement. The employer must then pay the worker:

  • double the wage for each hour worked or,
  • the daily wage (if greater)

Meal Breaks

Workers must have a meal break of 60 minutes after 5 hours’ work. During a meal break, a worker might be required to do work, if it cannot be left unattended and no else can do it. They must however be paid for working during their meal breaks.

A written agreement may:

  • reduce meal intervals to 30 minutes
  • dispense with a meal break for workers who work less than 6 hours.

Hours of work to be consecutive

Other than a ship security officer or a cargo security officer, all hours on any day must be consecutive.

Rest Periods

Workers must have a rest period of:

  • 12 hours each day; and
  • 36 consecutive hours each week (must include Sunday, unless otherwise agreed)

Workers’ rest period can be reduced to 10 hours if the workers’ meal interval lasts 3 hours or more.

Employers and workers may agree in writing to a rest period of at least 60 hours or more every second week.

A written agreement may provide for a rest period of at least 60 consecutive hours every week.


Workers working between 19h00 and 07h00 must:

  • have an agreement in writing
  • get an allowance, or
  • have public or other transport available to them.

Employers who require workers to perform night work on a regular basis must inform the worker in writing or orally (if the worker is unable to understand written communication) of any:

  • health and safety hazards associated with the work
  • rights to undergo a medical examination
  • before the worker starts
  • at appropriate intervals while the work continues

A worker’s hours may be changed to day work if:

  • the worker suffers from a health condition associated with the night work
  • it is practical


Workers may not work:

  • overtime unless by agreement;
  • more than 3 hours overtime a day
  • more than 10 hours’ overtime a week 

Pay for Overtime

Employers must pay workers overtime at 1.5 times the normal wage. Alternatively, a worker may agree to receive paid time off.


Working on Public Holidays

Working on a public holiday is by agreement only. Workers must be paid double the normal wage for working on a public holiday.

Pay for Public Holidays

All workers (including casual workers) must get paid double the hourly wage. Workers must get paid for working Public Holidays on payday.

Exchanging Public Holidays

A public holiday can be exchanged with another day by agreement.

Public Holidays and Annual Leave

A public holiday cannot be counted as annual leave.


Pay for Work on Sundays

Workers who only work on a Sunday from time to time must get 2 times the normal wage. Workers who usually work on a Sunday must get 1.5 times the normal wage.

Paid Time Off

Instead of getting a higher rate, workers may agree to get paid time off in exchange for working on a Sunday.


Number of Leave Days

Workers must get annual leave of at least:

  • 21 consecutive days, or
  • 1 day for every 17 worked, or
  • 1 hour for every 17 worked.

Timing of Leave

Both the employer and worker must agree to the timing of leave.  If they cannot agree, the employer makes the final decision.

Leave must be granted not later than 6 months after the end of the annual leave cycle (12 month periods from date of employment).

Payment for Annual Leave

Employers must pay workers their normal wage rate for annual leave. This is to be paid to the worker before the annual leave is taken.

Pay instead of Annual Leave

Employers cannot pay workers instead of granting leave, except on termination of employment.

Annual Leave and Public Holidays

A public holiday cannot be counted as annual leave.


Number of Leave Days

Workers may take 4 days of paid family responsibility leave during each annual leave cycle (12 month periods from date of employment).

Family responsibility leave expires at the end of the annual cycle.

Reasons for Leave

You may take family responsibility leave -

  • when your child is born,
  • when your child is sick,
  • in the event of the death of your spouse or life partner, parent or adoptive parent, grandparent, child or adopted child, grandchild, or sibling.


Employers may require reasonable proof of the birth, illness or death for which a worker requests leave.


Number of Leave Days

Pregnant workers are entitled to at least 4 consecutive months of maternity leave.

Notification for Leave

Workers need to notify employers in writing when they plan to take maternity leave and when they plan to return to work. This is to be done at least 4 weeks before the leave is required.

Timing of Leave

Workers may take maternity leave one month before their due date, or earlier or later as agreed or required for health reasons.

Safety of Pregnant or Breast Feeding Workers

A worker who is pregnant or breast feeding her child may NOT do work that is unsafe for her or her child.


Number of Leave Days

An employee is entitled to 6 weeks’ paid sick leave in a period of 36 months. However, during the first 6 months of employment, workers are only entitled to one day’s paid sick leave for every 26 days worked.

Pay for Sick Leave

Employers must pay workers their ordinary daily wage for sick leave. This must be paid on their normal payday.

Proof of Illness

An employer may require a medical certificate before paying workers who are absent for more than 2 consecutive days, or who are often absent (more than twice in an 8-week period).


Employers must provide workers FREE OF CHARGE at least two protective work clothing items per year.  All work clothing and equipment remains the property of the employer.

An employer may deduct money from a worker’s wages for loss and damage of clothing and equipment if:

  • a fair procedure has been followed;
  • the loss and damage occurred because of negligence;
  • it is deducted over a reasonable period of time;
  • And it does not exceed one tenth or 10% of a workers monthly pay.


Contents of Pay Slips

Employers must give workers the following information in writing when they are paid:

  • Employer’s name and address
  • Worker’s name and occupation
  • Period for which payment is made
  • Total salary or wages
  • Any deductions
  • The actual amount paid
  • If relevant to the calculation of pay:
    • Employee’s pay and overtime rates
    • Number of ordinary and overtime hours worked
    • Number of hours worked on a Sunday or public holiday
    • The total number of ordinary and overtime hours worked in the period of averaging, if a collective agreement to average working time has been concluded.


Employers must provide a manual or automatic attendance register containing the following information:

  • name of each worker;
  • day of the week;
  • time of work commenced;
  • times of all meal intervals;
  • time of finishing work;
  • overtime;
  • total number of hours worked;
  • workers signature

Attendance registers do not apply to -

  • drivers; 
  • workers accompanying drivers;
  • workers earning more than R56 000 per annum.


Employers must keep a record of the following information for each worker:

  • Worker’s name and occupation
  • Time worked
  • Pay received
  • Date of birth (if under 18 years of age)
  • Any other prescribed information


At the start of employment, employers must give workers a document containing the following information:

Employer’s and Worker’s Details

  • Employer’s full name;
  • Employer’s address ;
  • Worker’s name;
  • Worker’s occupation, or a brief description of the work.

Employment Details

  • Place/s of work;
  • Date of employment;
  • Working hours and days of work.

Payment Details

  • Salary or wage, or the rate and method of calculating wages;
  • Rate for overtime; 
  • Any other cash payments;
  • Any payments in kind and their value;
  • Frequency of payment; 
  • Any deductions.

Leave Details

Any leave to which the worker is entitled.

Notice/Contract Period

  • Period of notice required;
  • Period of contract.

This document must be updated if any of the details change. An employer must keep a copy of this document while the worker is employed and for 3 years thereafter.

If a worker is unable to understand the contract the employer is to explain the information in a way that he or she understands.


Notice of Termination

Notice must be given in writing.

Notice Period

Length of time the worker is employed:

       Required Notice Period

4 weeks or less

       1 week

More than 4 weeks, less than 1 year

       2 weeks

1 year or more

       4 wee

A collective agreement may reduce the notice period.

Pay instead of Notice

Employers can decide to waive the notice period but the worker must still be paid out for the notice period.

Payment on Termination

Employers must pay workers all outstanding monies including hours worked on notification of termination.

Workers who have been employed for 4 months or longer are entitled to be paid for any annual leave not taken.

Severance Pay

Retrenched workers (dismissed due to employer’s operational requirements or insolvency) are entitled to one week’s severance pay for every year of service.

Workers who refuse to accept alternative employment with their employer or that with another employer are not entitled to severance pay.

If there is a dispute regarding the right to severance pay, the worker may refer the matter to the CCMA.

Certificate of Service

On termination of employment, workers are entitled to a certificate of service.

The certificate of service must state -

  • worker’s full name;
  • name and address of the employer;
  • date of commencement and termination of employment;
  • title of job and brief description of work;
  • any relevant training received;
  • pay received at termination;
  • reason for termination (if requested by the worker).

Unfair Dismissal

Workers who feel they have been unfairly dismissed should consult the Labour Relations Act or refer the matter to the CCMA or Department of Labour.


Children Under 15

It is a criminal offence to employ a child under the age of 15.

Children Under 18

Children aged 15 to 18 may not be employed to do work inappropriate for their age or work that places them at risk.


CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration)

For case related queries and labour advice, call CCMA Call Centre on: 0861 16 16 16

CCMA National Office

Tel: (011) 377-6650/6600
Fax: (011) 834-7351
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Tel: 012-309 4000
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