News / South Africa

Makhosandile Zulu
2 minute read
9 Apr 2018
12:30 pm

National minimum wage for farm and domestic workers will be phased in

Makhosandile Zulu

The national minimum wage will be introduced on May 1.

The national minimum wage – R18 an hour for farmworkers and R15 an hour for domestic workers – will be phased in for these two categories of workers, the Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant has said.

The national minimum wage will be introduced on May 1.

“The reason for that, for a phase-in approach, was because we are using currently sectoral determinations, and we say they must be part of the level of the national minimum wage,” Oliphant said.

She said other factors that influenced the gradual phasing in of the new minimum wage for farm and domestic workers were considerations of the current pay levels for workers in both these sectors and that organising these workers for purposes of wage negotiations was a challenge.

“But we are encouraging them to come together so that they can be able to say we will be able to negotiate with employers,” Oliphant said.

She added that another challenge with organising domestic workers was that they were employed by individuals, and at times, domestic workers become afraid to hold wage negotiations with their respective employers.

The minister said employers were also encouraged to register domestic workers, and in instances where the workers are not registered, then the worker should contact the National Unemployment Fund.

Oliphant said domestic workers have also been placed under social protection so that should they get retrenched or are unemployed and are still looking for work, they can obtain some financial assistance.

She said through the ministerial sectoral determinations 4.5 million workers are being paid by the government and that 2.4 million workers in the country were not represented by organised workers’ unions.

She added that about 6.6 million people would benefit from the national minimum wage when it is implemented.

“Those who are saying this is a waste of time or it’s too low […] particularly the trade unions […] we are supporting them because it’s part of strengthening and supporting their central collective bargaining […] particularly for the vulnerable workers,” she said.

Oliphant said once the national minimum wage had been implemented, the benefits that workers enjoyed under the sectoral determinations would not fall away.

She said employers had committed to not retrench any workers based on the implementation of the national minimum wage.


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