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December : Developments Regarding National Minimum Wage for 2020

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4 December, 2019

Developments Regarding National Minimum Wage for 2020

Following a discussion with Ms Jahni de Villiers, Agri SA's Head: HR, Labour & Development and a member of the NWM Comassion, we can report the following.

The NWM Commission was meant to have met on 21 November 2019 to agree upon a recommendation to the Minister of Labour regarding the NMW applicable for 2020.  Unfortunately the meeting was not quorate and thus had to be cancelled.  In all likelihood, the next meeting of the NMW Commission will only occur in January 2020 and only thereafter a recommendation will be sent to the Minister. This, together with the fact that (a) a 30 day notice period has to be given to employers of what the new NMW will be and (b) the Minister cannot determine the new wage until a recommendation thereon has been received from the NMW Commission, a new NMW will only be implemented on 1 March at the earliest.

Further, of importance to note are the following points:

  1. In terms of the current legislation, the NMW can be applied retrospectively and that this is likely to happen in this case (i.e. be backdated to 1 January 2020).
  2. There has been no indication thus far that the current differential between the farm (and forestry) workers' minimum wage of R18.00 per hour and the standard rate of R20.00 will be narrowed at this point.
  3. Although not a guarantee, it is probable that the NMW will only be increased by the CPI (latest one is 3.7%).


Given the above, it is recommended that those members who are not in financial distress, implement a 3.7% wage increase on 1 January 2020 in anticipation of this likely increase being backdated to 1 January 2020.  This increase should be applied to R18.00 per hour (i.e. to R18.67 per hour).

Those members who are in financial distress should apply for an exemption through the normal channels.

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