No. Your employer cannot force you to take annual leave.
However, MISA does recommend that you consider taking annual leave purely as this will be more beneficial to you. Why? Annual leave is paid on full basic salary, whilst the TERS pay-out will be on a sliding scale between 38% and 60% of your basic salary and capped at R17 712, which makes it more beneficial to you as employee.
It is important to bear in mind that the National Lockdown, from a business perspective, is seen as a “no work-no pay” period.
Does that mean that I will not get paid during the national lockdown period?
You must be paid.
If your employer does not pay you a full basic salary during temporary closure, you must receive payment from the Temporary Employee/Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) which government has created to assist employers to compensate employees during this difficult time.
Some employers, however, have given the undertaking that they will still pay their employees regardless, while others have asked employees to take annual leave, as this will be to the benefit of both employer and employee.
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