A panel of advisors has proposed a National Minimum Wage (NMW) of R3,500 per month which is equivalent to R20 per hour.

This figure has received mixed reactions, no doubt fanned by the inevitable dilemma:  One would never have enough to be enough but that figure may be too much for employers to survive.


The discussion was accelerated a few years ago at the Ekurhuleni Declaration. At this gathering, Deputy President Cyril Rhamaposa engaged social partners to arrive at a future path to improve the labour relations environment, including the implementation of a National Minimum Wage.

International trends

National or statutory minimum wages exist in a number of Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) countries, but there are differences in the way they are set and operate.

The NMW has been implemented in a number of countries internationally with mixed success. One must bear in mind that different mechanisms are put in place to allow for the introduction thereof, including dropping certain social benefits – something that is unlikely to occur in South Africa.

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