Whether the allegations about the Speaker of the National Assembly paying her farm worker R30 per day, is true or not, it is still alarming. Sadly, this is a harsh reality faced by many workers in South Africa.
Parliament enacted the National Minimum Wage Act 9 of 2018 (NMWA), with the sole purpose of advancing economic development and social justice. The said Act aims to, amongst others, improve the wages of the lowest paid workers and to protect workers from unreasonably low wages.
The NMWA applies to all workers and their employers, with the exclusion of members of the National Defence Force, the National Intelligence Agency, and the South African Secret Service. In other words, the NMWA is not only applicable to farm- and domestic workers, but on all workers. This means that all workers are entitled to at least the minimum wage as determined by the Minister from time to time.
No employer may pay wages that are below the minimum wage and the minimum wage may also not be reduced by contract, collective agreement, or law. The NMWA is the amount payable for the ordinary hours of work that the worker works in a day. On 01 March 2021, the NMWA was determined by the Minister to be R 21,69 per hour for all workers, R 19.09 per hour for domestic workers and R 11,93 for workers in an expanded public works programme.
The NMWA is an act of Parliament, enacted in line with the Constitutional obligation on the State and employers to promote and fulfil the right to fair labour practices. Inspectors from the Department of Labour are tasked with the responsibility to ensure compliance with the NMWA.
If you are unsure of whether your wages are in line with the NMWA you can contact our offices or the Department of Labour for assistance.