There are three major deduction categories:

1) Permission based

2) Condition of employment

3) By order

1) Permission based

Employers may only deduct money from a worker's pay if the worker agrees in writing and signs the relevant acknowledgement of debt (download sample here).


a) Employee loan

b) Tool allowance

c) Uniforms

d) Accommodation

e) Voluntary medical aid or provident fund

Damage and loss (only after the worker has been given a fair chance to show why the deduction should not be made, the worker agrees to the deduction in writing, the deduction will not exceed 25% of their salary and the total deduction will not exceed the total cost to repair or replace the damaged item)

2) Condition of employment

If belonging to a pension fund or medical aid is a condition of employment (contained in the employment contract) such as a medical aid or provident fund. These deductions must be paid over to the relevant parties within 7 days. (Weekly paid employees normally have these deductions paid over at the end of the month)

3) By order

There are normally two instances where the employer is compelled to deduct the money as demanded

1) Garnishee order this is an order of the court and the employer must deduct this money and pay over the money to the relevant party. The money is deducted monthly until the debt has been repaid Failure to do so will make the employer liable for the debt.

2) IT88A order: this is an order form the receiver of revenue to deduct the money from the employee’s salary. The full amount must be deducted or if there is insufficient salary then the amount must be deducted over three months.

In the case of insufficient earnings then the following order applies:

1) PAYE ,SDL and UIF

2) Provident

3) Medical

4) Garnishee order

5) IT88A

6) Other voluntarily deductions

Lastly it is important to show all deductions on the payslip and to keep an accurate record of these deductions for a period of 5 years.

Ian Hurst

cell 082 8985006