Parliament’s Portfolio Committee on Labour has welcomed the signing of the National Minimum Wage Bill into law by President Cyril Ramaphosa. The Act will come into effect on the 1st January 2019.

Committee Chairperson Lemias Mashile says the new legislation will help vulnerable workers who earn less than R20 per hour to earn a decent living wage of no less than R3 500 per month.

The Act, however, exempts certain sectors from paying R20 per hour. It also establishes a National Minimum Wage Advisory Panel which will review the minimum wages annually.

“We really promise that the Committee establishes, evaluates the bill on an annual basis, and will do their work – and make sure that it is appropriate to our workers. On an annual basis, there is a committee that is established by the bill to evaluate the National Minimum Wage, on an annual basis, whether it is still appropriate – and whether all the conditions that determine the minimum wage have not changed for the worse. If that has happened, it will actually change – and we will recommend a new minimum wage.”

President Ramaphosa signed the National Minimum Wage Bill into law on Thursday. The minimum wage law was formulated at the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac).

Its initial implementation date was pushed from May 2018, following a series of blunders during the bill’s drafting period. In its initial response to the proposals, National Treasury warned that the system would affect jobs and the economy in the long term if it were to be implemented recklessly.

Critics have warned that the law may lead to job cuts in an economy that is already struggling with unemployment of more than 27%.

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Can you afford to pay for food and household expenses on the new minimum wage?

The National Minimum Wage Act, 2017 is set to be implemented in May 2018. However, according to the Department of Labour, the process could be delayed by one or two months.

SABC Digital News and OpenUp (formerly Code for South Africa) has partnered to develop a Minimum Wage App that will give answers to the question: “Can South Africans survive on R3 500?”

Where does the information come from?

OpenUp has used the following data sources:

How is it calculated?

The meals are calculated after household expenses are covered. So, in order to get three meals a day, one may have to reduce their allocation to household expenses.