The grass is greener on the other side

As I’ve gotten older I’ve started to increasingly value the often limited personal time I have. Saying ‘no’ and not over committing to things is something I’ve finally learned to do and I feel extremely privileged to be in such a strong position to do so. On the flip side, I really do love my job and the work I do.

When I started evaluating whether or not I was getting enough free time, the first thing I started looking at was the annual leave in my employment package. Then being English, I compared the basic annual leave in the UK to where I currently live and work – South Africa.

In England and Wales full time employees (that work 5 days a week) get 28 days leave a year1. That sounds pretty substantial compared to whatΒ South African’s are eligible for. But on closer inspection you must remember unlike South Africa, English employees are not entitled receive pay for public holidays2 and in 2012 there 9 public holidays a year in the England and Wales.

In South Africa the prescribed minimum paid leave is 15 days a year3Β (1.25 annual days leave for each month worked), which doesn’t sound that great compared to the UK’s 28 days.Β But in South Africa employers are obliged to pay employees for public holidays, of which there areΒ 13 public holidays4 in 2012. That means to compare apples with apples, a South African’s total leave would be their annual leave plus any public holidays, which in 2012 would be 28 days.

So if you were to work and receive the minimum prescribed annual leave, in the UK you’d receive 28 Days paid leave, and in South Africa you’d get get 28 days paid leave. The only difference being that in the UK there are less public holidays, so you could choose when to take that leave instead of having to take it when there is a public holiday.

Interesting stuff.

References and notes:

1. Public Holidays in England and Wales:
2. Holiday entitlements in the UK:
3. Annual Leave – Basic Conditions of Employment Act South Africa:
4. Public Holidays in South Africa:

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About Nicholas

I love helping people and solving problems. I am currently working on:
A Cape Town Fibre ISP – Atomic Access
Borderless Blockchain Mobile Network Operator – World Mobile
From England and currently living in Cape Town, South Africa.
Learn more about Nicholas.