Ask an expert

18 Oct 2009

Too close???

Two questions.

I work in a very stressful industry, whereby there are deadlines to be met weekly and at least once a week I have to sleep at the office in order to meet said deadlines.

YEt the issue lies whereby I wouldn' t need to if my boss came in to give me more direction (which as far as I know is part of his job). He doesn' t do this though.
To add to the stress my immediate superior has resigned and my bosses have decided not to employ a full time person to take over the vacancy and instead hire freelacers. This means that there is no time to fully train someone to do this job and I have found myself in a situation where I am doing all my superior' s work and at least half of my other workload (as freelancers have taken the other half) as well as attempting to train the new part time intern.

I have no signed contract!

I have asked but over the last year of working here I have been subjected to hideous work hours!

Another issue that has come up is that when my bosses asked me to work over weekend on another, unrelated project I agreed (very begrudgingly) to do it.
I agreed initially as I thought I wasn' t in a position to decline. But after another bout of 16 hour days I later refused to do this extra task.
I got hit with a warning letter, and I understand that I had agreed to do the extra job and really if it had not been from my lack of sleep I would not have ever dreamt of saying no.

I guess my question is, do I have the right to say  " I have not got the capacity to do any extra work. I am physically exhausted." 
I get no over time pay, holidays (as the work is too huge and there is now really no one to take over from me) and if I let a little task slip (getting more often due to all this pressure) I get into huge trouble.

I don' t have a clue where to find out about my own rights in this situation!!!
Answer 368 views
Labour lawyer
labour lawyer

01 Jan 0001


You have to have a signed contract in terms of the Basic Conditions of employment Act. It would be useful to just remind him that he could be in tourble if there is no signed contract. All work done after the 45 hours is overtime payment and on Sundays is also overtime payment.

You also can work only a certain amount of maximum hours in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical examination, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.