RemotePad Logo

What is an Employer of Record

How to hire globally with an EOR

What is a Global PEO

An alternative to EOR

What is a PEO

Hire locally with a PEO

Our Methodology

Why you can trust our guides

Hire Globally

Find international talents

Outsource Recruitment

How to outsource recruitment

Work Visas

How to get a work visa

Digital Nomad Visas

Get a digital nomad visa

Best Employer of Record (EOR)

Hire globally with the best EOR companies

Best Contractor Management

Hire and pay contractors and freelancers

Best Global PEO

Discover the best international co-employers

Best PEO Companies

Save on payroll and HR costs

Best Background Check Companies

Screen employees before hire

Best Global Payroll Providers

Outsource international payroll

Best Relocation Services

Relocate employees internationally

International Company Registration

Get help to incorporate overseas

All Reviews

Compare all providers

1. Horizons

Best Global EOR

2. Remote

Best EOR for Compliance

3. Deel

Best EOR Platform

4. Papaya Global

Best EOR for Payments

All EOR Reviews

Compare all providers

Where do you need a service provider?

All Countries

Explore our detailed guides for professional advice on international growth, recruitment, compensations strategies, and a curated list of top service providers.

Employer of Record (EOR) in South Africa

Navigating the intricacies of employment solutions in South Africa can feel like navigating the bustling streets of Cape Town during rush hour. If you’re considering a business expansion into South Africa, partnering with a South Africa EOR (Employer of Record) service can be your GPS, directing you around the potential roadblocks and traffic jams of hiring, payroll, and compliance, ultimately leading you to your destination – a successful and seamless business expansion.

Key Takeaways

  • An Employer of Record (EOR) in South Africa enables you to hire employees in South Africa quickly, and in full compliance with the law. 
  • A South Africa (EOR) provides cost and time savings, compliance assurance, streamlined recruitment and efficient payroll processes for your South Africa operations. 
  • The Top 5 South Africa EORs are Horizons, Thryv, DNA Outsourcing, Deel and Remote

What is an Employer of Record (EOR) in South Africa

Think of an EOR in South Africa as your in-country specialist or employment co-pilot. They assist businesses in adhering to local laws and regulations by employing staff on their behalf. The distinction between an EOR and a Global Employer of Record is much like comparing a local tour guide to a global travel agency. While a local tour guide specializes in a single nation or a particular jurisdiction, a Global Employer of Record manages employment tasks across multiple countries without the need for a legal entity in each country.

Using an EOR service in South Africa can:

  • Guide you through the complexities of the South African employment landscape, akin to an experienced sailor navigating the Cape of Good Hope

  • Simplify administrative intricacies

  • Ensure adherence to local regulations, including severance pay

  • Enable international organizations to access new markets effectively

It’s no secret that hiring in South Africa can be challenging due to the stringent employment regulations applicable to both local and foreign companies. However, with an EOR at your side, these challenges become manageable, allowing you to focus on your business growth rather than administrative hurdles.

Top 5 South Africa EOR Providers

  1. Horizons: Horizons is an international Employer of Record with a strong presence in South Africa. Unlike many other international EROS, Horizons does not sub-contract its EOR services in South Africa. Horizons becomes the legal employer of your South Africa team through its own South Africa subsidiary, and has local support on the ground to help you with any issues. 
  2. Thryv (Thryv Accountants): Thryv are leaders in the South Africa EOR industry, providing the full package of South Africa expansion support. Alongside its EOR solution, Thryv offers extensive accounting and business support services, including tax, audit, financial statement preparation and company incorporation. For global businesses in need of comprehensive South Africa expansion services, Thryv is your choice. 
  3. DNA Outsourcing: DNA Outsourcing is a highly regarded South Africa EOR, which also offers payroll-only outsourcing for companies who already have a legal entity in South Africa. Alongside their South Africa hiring solutions, they also offer EOR and payroll services in 43 African countries, as well as the Middle East, making them the ideal partner for countries looking to hire across Africa
  4. Deel: Deel is a global payroll and HR platform that simplifies the process of hiring, onboarding and paying employees in South Africa, and around the world. They offer a range of hiring support, including payroll outsourcing, benefits administration, global mobility and contractor payment.  
  5. Remote: Remote provides global employment solutions, including comprehensive EOR services in South Africa through a wholly-owned local subsidiary. Their platform allows businesses to easily manage and pay global teams, handling everything from legal compliance to benefits administration. 

Key Benefits of Using an EOR

Utilizing an EOR in South Africa offers several benefits, including:

  • Adherence to local labor regulations, including the Employment Equity Act

  • Streamlined recruitment and payroll administration processes

  • Drafting employment contracts that include critical information such as salary, working hours, and benefits

  • Ensuring contracts are composed in one of South Africa’s official languages and utilize the South African Rand

  • Meeting all legal requirements with precision and accuracy

Delegating benefit management in South Africa to an EOR is comparable to employing a personal concierge during a luxury vacation. It can be beneficial in terms of time and cost savings, as well as providing assurance of adherence to applicable regulations and legal guidance. Imagine the convenience of having someone else handle all the complexities of international recruitment, including hiring South Africa employees, allowing your business to concentrate on its core operations. That’s precisely what a Global EOR offers.

EOR vs PEO: The distinction

The distinction between EOR and PEO is much like the difference between a full-service hotel and a bed and breakfast. While a bed and breakfast (PEO) requires you to own a local entity and establish a co-employment arrangement, a full-service hotel (EOR) enables you to hire personnel in other countries, such as South Africa, without an entity or co-employment status, simplifying the process for a South Africa employer.

An EOR in South Africa takes on the role of a seasoned concierge, overseeing payroll, taxes, benefits, and ensuring adherence to legal regulations on behalf of an employer, similar to a Professional Employer Organization (PEO). A PEO in South Africa, on the other hand, partners with businesses to manage their human resource responsibilities, much like a trusted advisor, simplifying HR functions and providing assistance with employee management, payroll, benefits, training, and guidance for international employment.

An EOR in South Africa seeks to:

  • Minimize employment claims

  • Abide by applicable regulations

  • Manage HR-related liabilities

  • Provide comprehensive agreements that detail the services and insurance benefits they oversee

This makes it easier for businesses to enter the South African market, much like a trusted guide helping you navigate unfamiliar terrain.

Navigating South African Employment Laws

South African employment laws are like the protective walls of a fortress, designed to safeguard both employees and employers. These laws include the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997, the Labour Relations Act, and the Employment Equality Act, all of which set the fundamental framework for employment practices within the country. These regulations dictate the maximum working hours, ensuring that employers pay workers fairly for their time, much like a vigilant watchman ensuring everyone adheres to the rules. In South Africa, the maximum workweek is 45 hours, and the maximum workday is 9 hours for employees who work five days a week, and 8 hours for those who work more than five days a week.

While a written contract is not required to establish an employment relationship in South Africa, it’s advisable to have one, much like having a map when embarking on a journey. The employer must provide employment details prior to the commencement of employment to safeguard vulnerable employees from powerful employers. Just as there are penalties for breaking traffic rules, there are penalties for non-compliance with South African employment laws. These may include fines ranging from R1.5 million or 2% of turnover for first-time offenses, up to a maximum of R2.7 million or 10% of turnover, along with other potential consequences such as trade sanctions and imprisonment.

Compliance requirements

Adherence to South African labor laws, codes of practice, and registration with relevant authorities is as necessary as possessing your passport for international travel. It’s a necessity for businesses to abide by South African labor laws, codes of practice, and registration with relevant authorities. Just as a traveler needs to follow the rules and regulations of their destination country, businesses need to adhere to key South African labor laws that govern:

  • minimum wage regulations

  • working hour limits

  • leave entitlements

  • unfair dismissal protections

  • employee/employer rights

Just like a traveler needs a visa to enter a foreign country, businesses need to:

  • Register with the Companies and Intellectual Property Commission (CIPC)

  • Obtain a tax clearance certificate from the South African Revenue Service (SARS)

  • Provide identification documents

  • Complete the requisite forms

  • Adhere to any additional requirements specific to the chosen business structure

The penalties for non-compliance with South African employment laws can be severe and range from fines to potential imprisonment, much like the consequences for violating laws in a foreign country.

Crafting Compliant Employment Contracts

Creating compliant employment contracts in South Africa is similar to constructing a robust bridge, fostering a firm connection between the employer and the employee. Employees mostly receive a contract of indefinite duration as per the legal regulations. This is to prevent employers from using fixed-term contracts for permanent roles. The types of employment contracts available in South Africa include fixed-term and indefinite contracts, much like the different types of bridges that serve various purposes.

Just as an architect includes specific components in their blueprint, an employment contract in South Africa should include details regarding:

  • Compensation

  • Benefits

  • Termination criteria

  • Start date

  • Place of work

  • Designation

  • Responsibilities

  • Working hours

  • Compensation

  • Leave

All of these details should be provided in writing. A comprehensive employment contract is as essential as a well-constructed bridge, offering benefits to both parties and ensuring a smooth journey for the employee.

All employees should receive their remuneration in the South African Rand, the official currency of the nation, keeping the process straightforward and efficient.

Employee Benefits and Leave Entitlements

Similar to how landmarks define a nation, benefits and leave entitlements characterize the employment landscape in South Africa. These consist of:

  • Paid vacation

  • Sick leave

  • Maternity and paternity leave

  • Public holidays

All of these must be provided by employers in accordance with applicable regulations. Like the twelve public holidays that add rhythm to the South African calendar, employees in South Africa are eligible for 15 days of paid vacation leave annually, adding a rhythmic break to their working year.

Employees in South Africa are entitled to 30 days of paid sick leave every 36-month cycle, as stipulated by the relevant legislation, ensuring they have time to recuperate and return to work at their best. In the case of work-related sickness or injury, the employer is required to pay at least 75% of the normal pay for the initial three months, much like a safety net providing support when needed the most.

Female employees in South Africa are entitled to a minimum of four months of paid maternity leave, ensuring they have ample time to welcome and care for their newborn. While there is no legal mandate to provide paternity leave in South Africa, some companies may offer it as an additional benefit.

Streamlining the Hiring Process with an EOR

Consider driving through Johannesburg’s bustling streets in heavy traffic without a GPS. Now envisage having a co-pilot familiar with every corner of the city. This is comparable to navigating South Africa’s hiring process with the assistance of an EOR.

An EOR provides numerous advantages, such as streamlined employment, cost efficiency, adherence to regulations, payroll administration, and the capacity to concentrate on core business operations. Foreign companies may experience several obstacles during the recruitment process in South Africa, such as work permit requirements, language barriers, cultural differences, competition for talent, employment equity regulations, and recruitment costs, but with an EOR, these challenges become manageable.

Recruitment support

Partnering with an EOR for recruitment support is like having a personal stylist who knows not just your size and style, but also the latest fashion trends and where to find the best deals. An EOR offers recruitment services for permanent and contract staffing nationwide in South Africa. This includes all disciplines and levels. They handle the customary recruitment processes in South Africa, which encompass job posting, application screening, interviews, assessments and tests, background checks, offer and negotiation, and onboarding, much like a stylist would handle every aspect of your wardrobe.

An EOR provides several advantages, such as:

  • Reducing obstacles to international recruitment

  • Speeding up the hiring process

  • Guaranteeing adherence to South African regulations

  • Streamlining expansion efforts

  • Leveraging expertise

  • Accessing a varied selection of talent. 

EORs in South Africa can partner with local recruitment companies to gain access to local job seekers and international labor markets, much like a stylist would have contacts in the fashion industry to get the best outfits for their clients.

In some ways, leveraging the services of a South Africa EOR is analogous to leading a house. 

Onboarding made easy

An EOR offers a streamlined method to the hiring process, akin to a well-oiled machine. They offer an established legal and administrative framework, enabling businesses to hire staff on behalf of businesses, allowing for a swift entry into the market without having to set up a local entity. They are also responsible for contract management during onboarding, which includes tasks such as contract drafting, employee classification, and ensuring compliance with local employment laws.

An EOR in South Africa is like a friendly local who can help a tourist navigate a new city. They facilitate local contacts during the onboarding process in South Africa by:

  • Expediting the hiring process

  • Providing efficient onboarding by collecting worker contact details, such as residential address and address in the country of work

  • Maintaining an established legal and administrative framework

  • Remaining up-to-date on South Africa’s labor laws and regulations

  • Possessing a comprehensive understanding of local employment laws to facilitate the hiring and onboarding process, much like a local would be well-versed in the city’s rules and regulations.

Payroll Management and Taxation

Dealing with payroll and taxation in South Africa with an EOR is comparable to having a personal accountant managing all your financial affairs. They manage payroll for employees, ensuring accurate deductions and contributions are made, as well as filing income tax in a timely manner. Just as an accountant would handle your financial contributions, employers in South Africa are required to make tax contributions for:

  • Standard income tax withholdings

  • Standard Income Tax on Employees (SITE)

  • Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF)

  • Skills Development Levy

Much like the yearly cycle of seasons, the tax year in South Africa runs from January 1 to December 31, and employees are required to file their income tax returns by the end of January. An EOR can effectively manage payroll for international companies, ensuring the deduction and payment of statutory payments and taxes on their behalf, providing a registered entity for running a compliant local payroll inside South Africa, much like a personal accountant would handle all your financial affairs.

Deductions and contributions

Employers in South Africa are like the sun in the solar system, with several financial obligations revolving around them. They are required to make Social Security, Medicare, and income tax deductions from employee pay and send payments as necessary. In addition, they must also pay deductions and employer contributions to benefit funds. Just as the sun provides energy to all the planets, the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) in South Africa assists employers by providing short-term relief to workers when they become unemployed or are unable to work due to illness, maternity, or other reasons.

The Skills Development Levy in South Africa is like a seed planted to promote learning and development. It is calculated as 1% of the employer’s salary bill if it exceeds R500,000 per annum. The levy is paid monthly and cannot be deducted from employees’ salaries. Employers in South Africa are also required to contribute to the unemployment insurance fund at a rate of 1% of gross remuneration, ensuring a safety net for employees much like a farmer watering the seed to ensure it grows.

Income tax filing

Filing income tax returns in South Africa is like submitting an annual report, detailing the income earned and taxes paid over the year. The tax return can be filed electronically at a SARS branch with the assistance of an agent, or online through SARS eFiling. The deadlines for income tax filing for employees in South Africa are as follows:

  • Annual filing season: 1 April to 31 May (for the period 1 March to 28 February)

  • Non-provisional individual taxpayers: Monday, 23 October 2023

  • Provisional taxpayers: Monday, 23 October 2023

These deadlines are similar to deadlines for submitting reports in an office.

In South Africa, both residents and non-residents are liable for taxation on their South African sourced income, which includes:

  • Employment income

  • Salary income

  • Business income

  • Capital gains

  • Inheritance income

Additionally, indirect taxes such as Value-Added Tax (VAT) and Fuel Duty are also applicable, much like how everyone is required to pay for the goods and services they use.

The current income tax rates in South Africa are as follows:

  • R1 to R226,000: 18%

  • R226,001 to R353,100: 26%

  • R353,101 to R488,700: 31%

  • R488,701 and above: 36%

These rates are similar to the various tax brackets in other countries.

Work Permits and Visa Support

Recruiting foreign employees in South Africa without an EOR is akin to exploring a foreign country without a map. But with an EOR assisting you, the process of obtaining work permits and visas for foreign employees becomes straightforward. The General Work Visa is one of the work permits and visas required for foreign employees in South Africa, much like a passport is required for international travel.

An EOR in South Africa can provide you with the following services:

  • A map and local expertise to help you navigate the process of obtaining work permits and visas

  • Ensuring compliance with immigration laws

  • Facilitating the recruitment of foreign talent

  • Assisting with the procurement of employee assets

  • Negotiating employee benefits

Obtaining a South African work permit can be a complex process due to the bureaucratic hurdles involved. However, an EOR can assist in overcoming these issues by providing:

  • Local expertise and knowledge

  • Navigating intricate regulations

  • Guaranteeing compliance

  • Offering access to a network of experienced professionals

They maintain an established legal and administrative framework as a legal employer, remain up-to-date on South Africa’s labor laws and regulations, and possess a comprehensive understanding of local employment laws to facilitate the hiring and onboarding process, much like a local would be well-versed in the city’s rules and regulations.

Setting up a Subsidiary vs Partnering with an EOR

Deciding between establishing a subsidiary in South Africa or collaborating with an EOR is comparable to choosing between purchasing a house or leasing an apartment. Both options have advantages and disadvantages, and the optimal choice depends on your particular needs and resources.

The necessary steps for establishing a subsidiary in South Africa include:

  1. Selecting an appropriate business entity

  2. Reserving the company name

  3. Preparing and submitting the applicable documents for registration

  4. Incorporating the subsidiary company

  5. Registering the subsidiary in compliance with the law.

The general cost of establishing a subsidiary in South Africa can range from ZAR 2,000 to ZAR 50,000, depending on the type of business entity. Additional costs may include registration of the company name, setup of the office, and opening fees for the bank account.  These high up-front costs are, in some ways, similar to the costs involved in buying a house. 

Partnering with an EOR in South Africa can provide several advantages, such as:

  • Accessing new markets and acquiring skilled personnel

  • Ensuring adherence to employment laws and tax regulations

  • Entering the market swiftly without establishing a local entity

  • Leveraging the expertise of the EOR for effortless expansion

  • Expediting the recruitment process

Choosing Your South Africa EOR

Navigating the complexities of employment solutions in South Africa can feel like a daunting journey through a vast wilderness. However, with an Employer of Record (EOR) by your side, this journey becomes an exciting safari, filled with opportunities for growth and success. 

With a range of options to choose from, make sure you choose the South Africa EOR that can best provide the hiring support you need. 

South Africa Business Guides

Travis is a global business development advisor. He has spent the last 14 years supporting business establishment and development in North America, Southeast Asia, and throughout the world. With multiple degrees from the University of Oregon, Travis currently splits his time between the US, and Bali, Indonesia. At RemotePad, Travis writes about remote work, hiring internationally and PEO/EOR business models.