On Friday, 23 November 2018 the President signed various employment legislation into law.  Of relevance, the National Minimum Wage Bill was signed into law which Bill is expected to benefit the lowest paid employees in our society who earn an hourly rate of less than R20.  This Act is called the National Minimum Wage Act, 2018.

It is anticipated that the Bill will be effective from 1 January 2019.  It is compulsory for all employees to earn an hourly minimum wage of R20.  This amount will be revised annually.  This is the first time that a national minimum wage is set in South Africa.

Domestic workers have been excluded from the initial phasing in of the Bill and the implementation date for domestic workers will be fixed by the President in due course.  At this stage it appears that once the date is fixed, domestic workers will be entitled to a minimum hourly wage of R15 / R16.

The payment of the minimum wage cannot be waived and the national minimum wage takes precedence over any employment contract, collective agreement, sectoral determination or law. The national minimum wage constitutes a term of the employee’s employment contract except to the extent that the employment contract provides for the payment of more favourable wages.

Employees who have concluded a learnership agreement contemplated in section 17 of the Skills Development Act are entitled to the allowances provided for in the Bill.

Employers unable to pay the minimum wage may in certain circumstances and provided it meets certain requirements apply for exemption.

The amendments to the Labour Laws Amendment Bill, 2018 dealing with the provisions relating to parental, adoption and surrogacy leave was also signed into law.  These changes will also affect the definition of family responsibility leave.  Please refer to the article on our website summarising the important changes to the legislation.  We are happy to assist with revising workplace policies and/or employment agreements to bring it into line with the new legislative changes.