On the 29th of May 2018, the National Assembly passed the National Minimum Wage Bill, which seeks to improve the lives of South African’s falling within the low-income bracket. The Bill proposes minimum wage set at R 20 per hour which, based on a 45-hour week equates to R 3 900 per month.

A looming question amongst many South Africans is how the Executive will manage the implementation of the Bill. In May this year Deputy Minister Holomisa of the Department of Labour was questioned on this very concern. He responded by saying that if and when the Bill is passed, additional resources will be required to ensure that employers comply with the minimum standards. As it stands the Department does not have sufficient resources to assign labour inspectors to visit every workplace.

The Director General of the Department has outlined a number of strategies in order to support compliance with the National Minimum Wage. As the first port of call, they expect workers and unions to come forward and inform the Department of non-compliance. There is also an obligation on the employers to ensure that they comply. Another initiative is what the Department calls “Blitz Inspections”, which is an effort to focus on areas which are infamous for non-compliance with labour regulations. The Department will issue compliance orders to those who do not conform to the National Minimum Wage.

The National Minimum Wage will be incorporated into the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill (“the Amendment Bill”). The Amendment Bill seeks to substitute and incorporate new definitions, as well as to provide daily wage payments applicable to certain employees, it also extends the jurisdiction of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

Labour inspectors now have the power to refer disputes relating to non-compliance to the to the CCMA and to appear at the CCMA in these disputes. The CCMA will have the power to make a compliance order issued by an inspector, an arbitration award, which award will carry the same weight as an order issued from the Labour Court. The National Minimum Wage Bill and amendments to existing labour legislation seek to improve access to the judicial system for the working poor.

06 June 2018