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18 September 2018
All You Need To Know About The South African Minimum Wage Bill
In South Africa, employment has been hard to come by for many, especially for unskilled and semi-skilled workers with many of them willing to take on any bit of work that they can. This sort of desperation has seen many labourers exploited and paid very little for their hours of work compared to living expenses and the rising costs due to inflation and a weakening Rand.
As job creation has slowed down and the majority of new jobs opening up being on a contract or temporary basis making sure temporary workers we see companies having a lot more bargaining power when it comes to wages. To help labourers keep up with the pace with the rising cost of living the South African government has set out a new mandate that governs the minimum wage in the country.
South Africa gets a minimum wage structure
The newly implemented legislation stipulates a minimum national rate of R20 per hour, or R3 500 per month, depending on the number of hours worked. The R20 an hour rate will be phased in slowly in the agriculture and domestic work sectors, with workers earning R18 and R15 per hour respectively.
When did the minimum wage become law?
- In February 2017, stakeholders in government, labour and business, represented in the National Economic Development and Labour Council, first signed the national minimum wage agreement. The bill was then approved by Cabinet later in 2017.
- It was then passed on to the National Assembly and the National Council of Provinces who both passed the bill in late May 2018, along with the related legislation the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill.
- The final step was for President Cyril Ramaphosa to officially sign the bill into law in November 2018.
- As of January 1, 2019, South Africa's first-ever national minimum wage is in effect.
Whose idea was it to have a national minimum wage?
A unified national minimum wage, which spans all economic sectors and the idea has been more than four years in the making. It followed the signing of the Ekurhuleni Declaration by business, government, labour and civil society, represented at the National Economic Development Council, in November 2014.
While the bill is seen as a win for the South African labourers at ground level much has been said about its implementation with the South African Federation of Trade Unions (Saftu) has criticised the wage for not being a living wage. While some economists. meanwhile, have warned it may depress SA's already high unemployment rate further by making it more expensive to hire workers.
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