South Africa will have 13 public holidays in 2021, including an additional two days off to celebrate public holidays which fall over a weekend.
The Public Holidays Act (Act No 36 of 1994) determines that whenever any public holiday falls on a Sunday, the Monday following on it shall be a public holiday.
This means that 22 March 2021 and 27 December 2021 will each become an additional public holiday in terms of the Act.
The public holidays for 2021, according to official government proclamation, are as follows:
- 1 January: New Year’s Day
- 21 March: Human Rights Day
- 22 March: Public holiday
- 2 April: Good Friday
- 5 April: Family Day
- 27 April: Freedom Day
- 1 May: Workers’ Day
- 16 June: Youth Day
- 9 August: National Women’s Day
- 24 September: Heritage Day
- 16 December: Day of Reconciliation
- 25 December: Christmas Day
- 26 December: Day of Goodwill
- 27 December: Public holiday
The dates on which Good Friday and Easter Sunday fall are determined according to the ecclesiastical moon. That varies each year but they fall at some point between late March and late April.
Consecutive public holidays can have a significant impact on working arrangements and shifts, especially in workplaces that run a 24/7/365 operation. And while a ‘day off’ can impact economic productivity, it can help stave off fatigue-related issues.
With the Covid-19 pandemic likely to remain with South Africa for the remainder of 2021, businesses should also be aware of the dates that workers are likely to apply for days off to maximise their leave time.
Employees are also likely to take advantage of the long weekends – with Women’s Day (9 August) and Heritage Day (24 September) set to fall on a Monday and Friday respectively.