As has been widely reported in the media, the implementation date of the National Minimum Wage – which was originally set to have come into force on the first of next month – has been postponed. The National Minimum Wage Bill, which governs the National Minimum Wage, will go before the National Council of Provinces on 29 May.

Why has this happened?

Since the announcement of the implementation of the National Minimum Wage in 2017, there has been much opposition expressed against this proposal. As at the end of March, 40 public proposals had been received commenting on the draft legislation expressing disagreement with its principles. Added to this are the concerns raised by countless trade unions as to, among others, the umpteen jobs that will be lost as a result of the implementation of the National Minimum Wage given the already sky-high unemployment rates being experienced in South Africa.

When will the National Minimum Wage now be implemented?

Grant Wilkinson believes that this legislation will not be implemented before 1 August 2018 based on the above timeline. The proposed National Minimum Wage remains at R20 per hour, with farm workers earning 90% for the first year and domestic workers earning 75% of the National Minimum Wage for the first year. This reduction has been reached in order to minimise potential unemployment in these vulnerable sectors.

Employees working a 40-hour week will earn R3 500 monthly. It has been recommended – by the National Minimum Wage Panel – that employees eligible for the National Minimum Wage must work for a minimum of four hours a day. (COSATU had wanted this figure to be increased to five hours.)

Adjustments to the National Minimum Wage will be made when and where necessary. It will be possible to apply for an exemption to the National Minimum Wage, however in order for exclusion to be granted solid grounds need to be in place.

Grant Wilkinson is an executive at Global Business Solutions.