Unplanned public holiday to cost R7bn – accounting firms

2011-12-15 10:56

BDO South Africa, a regional association of accounting firms, says that the cost of an extra public holiday as declared by the presidency would result in an estimated R7 billion loss in turnover.

Acting President Kgalema Motlanthe declared December 27 a public holiday.

The declaration was made in terms of Section 2A of the Public Holidays Act 1994 (Act No.36 of 1994).

Olivier Barbeau, chief operating officer at BDO SA, said: “South Africans typically enjoy 13 paid public holidays a year. This, on the face of it, is comparable to other countries like the US, France and Singapore. But can we afford it?

“SA is still a developing economy with significantly high levels of unemployment. We have to compete globally with countries like China, which have only four public holidays.”

The group said that some argued that an additional day’s leave, at a time when many businesses had closed for the year, would not cost the economy and employers, but Barbeau said this was not entirely true.

“It is important to remember that employees who would have used part of their annual leave entitlement for this day will now have an additional day’s leave available to them next year, at the cost to the company. In addition, employers who would have carefully planned their labour force requirements for December will have to reorganise their work schedules at very short notice or face the additional overtime cost of labour (double pay),” Barbeau said.

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