President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Bill into law on Friday, 23 November 2018.
The Bill comes into effect 1 January 2019.
The NMW was originally scheduled to come into effect in May 2018, but due to issues that arose when the legislation was drafted, it had to be postponed. The NMW is expected to benefit about 6 million workers that currently earn below R20 per hour. It is proposed that there will be a review of the minimum wage level within 18 months from the commencement of this Act.
There are a few exceptions to the national minimum wage of R20 per hour, which include:
- The minimum wage for farm workers will be R18 per hour.
- The minimum wage for domestic workers will be R15 per hour.
- The minimum wage for workers on an expanded public works programme is R11 per hour.
Employers who are unable to pay the NMW due to constraints on their business will be eligible for exemptions.
Together with the NMW Bill, three other bills were also signed into law on Friday 23 November. These were the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill.
The Labour Law Amendments bill will enable the implementation of the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) Act. This Act will cover a variety of benefits to retrenched workers.
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act amendments will introduce various changes including parental and adoption leave.
The Labour Relations Amendment Bill will enable the establishment of an advisory arbitration panel to deal with long and violent strike action. This change is intended to facilitate labour stability.