South Africa to get an ‘extra’ public holiday in 2022


South Africa will have 12 public holidays in 2022, including an additional day off to celebrate a public holiday that falls 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 is also deemed a public holiday. This means that citizens will have Monday, 2 May 2022, off to celebrate Workers’ Day.

With the country having already celebrated New Year’s Day under relaxed lockdown regulations, the next public holiday on the calendar falls on Monday, 21 March (Human Rights Day).

The public holidays for 2022, according to the official government proclamation, are as follows:

Date Day Public Holiday
1 January Saturday New Year’s Day
21 March Monday Human Rights Day
15 April Friday Good Friday
18 April Monday Family Day
27 April Wednesday Freedom Day
1 May Sunday Workers’ Day
2 May Monday Public holiday Workers’ Day observed 
16 June Thursday Youth Day
9 August Tuesday National Women’s Day
24 September Saturday Heritage Day
16 December Friday Day of Reconciliation
25 December Sunday Christmas Day
26 December Monday Day of Goodwill

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. In 2022, the Easter weekend will start on 15 April and conclude on 18 April.

Consecutive public holidays can significantly impact working arrangements and shifts, and while a ‘day off’ can impact economic productivity, it can help stave off fatigue-related issues.

With Covid-19 fatigue and working from home expected to continue for much of 2022, businesses should also be aware of the dates workers are likely to apply for time off.

Employees are also likely to take advantage of the long weekends – with Human Rights Day (21 March) and the Day of Reconciliation (16 December) set to fall on a Monday and Friday, respectively.

Finally, a break? 

With South Africa easing curfew restrictions for the first time in nearly two years and the impact of the Omicron variant less severe than expected, 2022 could see the return to some normality for many professionals.

At the pandemic’s start in March 2019, millions of professionals had to embrace full-time remote working as the Covid-19 pandemic intensified suddenly. While it decreased commute times and resulted in higher productivity for some employees, the hours of digital meetings made maintaining a work-life balance more challenging than ever before.

“Seeking the right balance between the job, household chores, childcare and, in some cases, financial uncertainty, were issues of major concern before the pandemic. However, in the last year and a half, mental health became the focus of most’ employee wellbeing’ conversations,” said Jiten Vyas, regional group chief operating officer at outsourcing company VFS Global.

“In the weeks following the initial national lockdown in 2020, Lifeline South Africa recorded over 4,000 calls a day – the number of calls they would usually get in a week. Further to this, the South African Depression and Anxiety Group have also recently stated that more people have reached out for help since the start of 2021 and that one in five calls received a day are suicidal.

“Burnout, anxiety, and a feeling of isolation, if not handled at the right time in the right manner, can snowball into more serious, long-term consequences that are harmful not just to the employee but organisations as well. And according to the World Health Organisation (WHO), mental health is expected to be the single largest global crisis we will face by 2030.”

Read: Be aware of level 1 lockdown rules on social gatherings


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