South Africa’s first national minimum wage

National minimum wage

1 January 2019 saw South Africa’s first ever national minimum wage come into effect. Stakeholders first signed the national minimum wage agreement in February 2017, which was approved by Cabinet later in 2017 after which the bill was passed in May 2018.

Other related legislation, being the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill and the Labour Relations Amendment Bill, were passed at the same time. President Cyril Ramaphosa signed the bill in November 2018 and in December he announced that it would come into effect on the 1st of January 2019.

This legislation enforces a minimum wage rate of R20 per hour within agriculture and domestic work sectors and are being phased in at R18 and R15 per hour, respectively. This wage will remain in force for 2 years until December 2020, where after the Minister of Labour will advise the adjustment applicable from 1 January 2021. Industries regulated by a bargaining council will still be bound by the provisions of the collective agreement applicable to that industry. However, if you have negotiated wages that are in excess of the minimum rates with an employee, then you are still bound by the terms of that agreement.

According to the Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act, 2002 (Act No. 4 of 2002), a domestic worker is a worker who performs domestic work in a private household and who is entitled to receive a wage. This includes a gardener, a driver or a person who cares for children or for the elderly, sick, frail or disabled in a private household. This does not include a person working on a farm.

Sectoral Determination 13 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act No. 75 of 1997 defines a farm worker as a worker employed in any farming or forestry activities. Part A (1) (2) of the Sectoral Determination defines farming activities as follows:

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