After a long delay, President Cyril Ramaphosa has finally signed the National Minimum Wage Bill into law.
The National Minimum Wage Act sets South Africa’s first National Minimum Wage at R20 an hour, equivalent to R3,500 per month, depending on the number of hours worked, and creates a phase-in period for farm workers, forestry workers, domestic workers, welfare sector and care workers, due to their vulnerability to disemployment.
An exemption may only be granted if the employer cannot afford to pay the minimum wage and after meaningful consultation with every trade union representing affected employees or the affected employee him/herself in absence of a trade union.
“The President’s signing of the new law comes four years, to the month, after the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) first began deliberations on the protection of low-paid workers, fair and effective competition in the labour market, and the challenges of labour instability, caused by violent strikes and the duration of strikes and wage inequality,” the Presidency said in a statement on Monday (26 November).
The National Minimum Wage Act will come into effect on a date to be determined by the president by proclamation – with reports indicating that this could be as early as 1 January 2019.