6 things you should know about the controversial minimum wage bill

South Africa's minimum wage has been set at R20 per hour after a great deal of public debate and objection from unions.

President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the national minimum wage bill into law last week.

The bill is expected to affect six million workers who earn below R3 700 a month, ensuring that they receive a minimum of R20 per hour.

Read: Is R20 an hour enough?

Employment lawyer Sherisa Rajah explains that the minimum wage will not apply to industries where there are sector collective agreements in place.

Rajah believes many sectors such as manufacturing, automotive and construction pay well above R20.

She says the minimum wage applies to vulnerable employees such as the "bakkie brigade", the independent workers who get picked up from roadsides around the country for a day of labour.

Rajah outlines some important things to consider:

  • the wage does not apply to farm workers (R15 p/h) and domestic workers (R18 p/h)
  • the minimum wage will not apply where there is a sector agreement
  • labour inspectors are meant to ensure the enforcement of the minimum wage, especially for atypical labour
  • the minimum wage applies to ordinary hours of work (Monday to Friday), overtime rates apply on weekends
  • employers who do not comply with labour law are guilty of unfair labour practice and breaking the law
  • the minimum wage bill makes provisions to apply for exemptions for a period of 12 months

By and large, your general workers and operators are already earning well above R20 an hour.

Sherisa Rajah, Labour attorney and partner at Fasken law firm

Four to six million employees in SA are vulnerbale.

Sherisa Rajah, Labour attorney and partner at Fasken law firm

The drill down is not on the big corporates, it's on these smaller companies that are emerging and the entrepreneurs that must still comply with the law.

Sherisa Rajah, Labour attorney and partner at Fasken law firm

Rajah shared her expert advice and fielded questions from callers.

Listen to the entire World of Work segment on The Eusebius McKaiser Show:


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