The National Minimum Wage Bill – and Other Labour Law Amendments You Should Know

Posted on September 27th, 2018
By: Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH)

Parliament’s Select Committee on Economic and Business Development recently passed a series of Labour Bills which will affect a broad range of labour issues including minimum wage, parental leave, disputes and strike action. The Bills will now be placed before a plenary sitting of the National Council of Provinces. If adopted, the Bills will be sent to the President of the Republic of South Africa for final assent and signature. Once signed by the president, the bills will become law. Well-respected law firm Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH) give us the low down on some of the changes:

National Minimum Wage Bill

The National Minimum Wage Bill, together with the Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill, proposes that the national minimum wage is increased as follows:

• R3,900 per month for full-time workers (who work 45 hours per week); or
• R3,500 per month for full-time workers (who work 40 hours per week); or
• R800 per week; or
• R20 per hour.

This bill also introduces different hourly wage rates for agricultural workers (R18 per hour) and domestic workers (R15 per hour).
The bill creates and establishes a National Minimum Wage Commission who will be responsible for annually reviewing the national minimum wage. In deciding on the annual adjustment, the following factors will be considered:

  • Cost of living;
  • Minimum living levels;
  • Alleviation of poverty;
  • Wage differentials and inequality;
  • Conditions of employment;
  • Health, safety and welfare of workers;
  • Employment levels;
  • Inflation;
  • Gross Domestic Product growth;
  • State of collective bargaining.
  • The Basic Conditions of Employment Amendment Bill will include provisions of the National Minimum Wage Bill.

Labour Relations Amendment Bill

This bill makes various changes to the Labour Relations Act 66 of 1995. These changes mainly concern collective bargaining. The bill provides for the following:

  • Extension of bargaining council agreements to non-parties by the Minister of Labour;
  • Extension of funding agreements of bargaining councils;
  • Picketing through collective agreement or through prescribed picketing rules;
  • Extension of the meaning of ballot for a strike or lock-out to include a secret vote;
  • Creation of an advisory arbitration panel. “The advisory arbitration panel has been established to resolve strikes (or lockouts) that are obstinate or violent,” CDH explained.
    “The panel may also intervene if there is potential for the strike (or lockout) to cause a local or national crisis.
    “The panel will have the power to investigate the cause and circumstances of the strike (or lockout) and release an advisory arbitration award to assist the parties in resolving the dispute. The panel may only be established if this is directed by the Minister of Labour or Labour Court.”

Labour Laws Amendment Bill

The bill aims to amend the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 75 of 1997. The bill creates parental leave, adoption leave and commissioning parental leave to employees as follows:

  • An employee, who is a parent of a child, is entitled to ten consecutive days of parental leave;
  • An employee, who is an adoptive parent of a child below the age of two, is entitled to:
  • Adoption leave of at least ten consecutive weeks; or
  • At least ten consecutive days of parental leave.

An employee, who is a commissioning parent in a surrogacy agreement, is entitled to:

  • Commissioning parental leave of ten consecutive weeks; or
  • At least ten consecutive days of parental leave.