CAPE TOWN – The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) says it’s too early to say whether employers are implementing the new national minimum wage that came into effect on New Year’s Day.
The National Minimum Wage Act was signed into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa in November.
It binds employers to pay workers R20 an hour or R3,500 a month, except for domestic workers and farm labourers, who must be paid R15 and R18 an hour respectively.
Cosatu’s parliamentary officer Matthew Parks says the federation’s affiliates have plans in place to monitor implementation of the new national minimum wage, but that they’re only expecting feedback later in January.
“They started already in 2018, auditing which workplaces pay below minimum wage. A lot of factories are still closed, so they haven’t had much feedback yet. But I think in the next week or so when most factories re-open, then we will get much more feedback.”
Parks says employers who did not apply for exemption from paying the minimum wage before the new law came into effect will face sanctions if they don’t heed it: “The first offence, you must pay the worker what was due, with interest and 100% of the salary as a fine. With the second offence, employers must pay 200% of the worker’s salary.”
Some sectors of organised labour have criticised the minimum wage as too little. But Parks says 6.4 million workers, around 47% of the labour force, stand to benefit.