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November : National minumum wage bill

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24 November, 2017

National minumum wage bill


Please find attached for your information a copy of the abovementioned Bill (along with a Memorandum on the Bill and an Impact Assessment) which has just been released for public comment and which I received this morning.

One of FSA's major concerns with the draft Bill was that "forestry workers" were not included in the 90% dispensation applicable to "farm workers" whereby the minimum wage was initially set at R18 per hour as opposed to R20 / hour.  FSA brought this fact to Busa's attention, through Agri SA and I am pleased to report that the final Bill now INCLUDES "forestry workers" in the above dispensation.

Important things to note are as follows:

  1. The NMW will come into effect on 1 May 2018.
  2. It will be set initially at R18.00 per hour.
  3. In terms of clause 5 of the NMW Bill, this wage excludes:
    1. Any payment made to enable a worker to work including any transport, equipment, tool, food or accommodation allowance;
    2. Any payment in kind including - e.g. rations, board and accommodation etc.;
    3. Gratuities, including bonuses, tips or gifts; and
    4. Any other category of prescribed payments.
  4. It will be based on "ordinary hours of work" - in our case this is 45 hours per week.
  5. Importantly, in terms of clause 4.6 of the NMW Bill, it is an unfair labour practice to unilaterally alter wages, hours of work or other conditions of employment in connection with the implementation of the NMW.  This clause takes retrospective effect from 1 May 2017.

In essence, this means that agricultural and forestry employers will, w.e.f. 1 May 2018;

  • have to pay their workers a minimum of R18.00 per hour worked; and
  • not be able to unilaterally adjust hours worked downwards in order to lessen the impact on their total wage bill.

On an hourly basis this represents a 17.0% increase on the current minimum wage of R15.39 per hour.  This could well lead to job losses.  Indeed, research carried out and reported on in the impact assessment attached estimates that between 205 000 and 897 000 jobs could be lost through the introduction of the NMW!

Roger Godsmark
Operations Director
Forestry South Africa
Tel :+27 33 346 0344
Fax: +27 33 346 0399
E-mail: roger@forestrysouthafrica.co.za

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