The minimum wage for farm workers could be hired to the same level as the national minimum wage in the coming year.
- The National Minimum Wage Commission has recommended increasing the minimum wage by inflation plus 1.5% next year.
- It also wants the minimum wage for farmworkers to be hiked to the same level as the national minimum wage until next year.
- The commission recommends that domestic workers, whose minimum wage is much lower than the general minimum wage, should earn the same as other workers by 2022.
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The National Minimum Wage Commission has recommended increasing the minimum wage by inflation plus 1.5% next year.
Meanwhile, this would mean an increase of 4.8% – which would increase the minimum hourly wage by a margin to around R21.76
“The actual amount, however, will depend on inflation in the month in which the adjustment is made,” the commission said in a new report, which was forwarded to the commentary.
The commission says it has supported a higher inflation rate for promotion, as the minimum wage is still below the upper limit poverty line (from R1,268 per person per month). It also noted that inflation for low-income households is now significantly higher than for the higher-income group, due to the relatively sharp increase in food prices (food constitutes a higher share of consumption for low-income households).
“While the decision implies that costs for some employers will increase, but that they will be offset by the more benefits to society of more equitable workplace and remuneration systems. The commission said the law can give exemptions for employers who can really Can not afford the adjustment.
The national minimum wage was originally set at R20 per hour in 2018, and increased to R20.76 per hour from March this year.
The minimum wage for farm workers and domestic workers is currently R18.68 and R15.57.
But the majority of commissioners recommended that the minimum for farm workers – currently 10% below the general minimum wage – should be equal to the national minimum wage in next year.
The majority of commissioners argue that the agricultural sector has not been as severely affected as other sectors by the lockdown, as the food value chain has been an important sector.
The commission also wants the minimum wage for domestic workers – now 25% below the national minimum wage – to rise to 88% of the national minimum wage in 2021 and to 100% in 2022.
This could be an increase of about R450 per month for a domestic worker and about R350 per month for a farm worker in the next two years.
But the commission’s three business representatives – a minority – did not support the proposal, saying “no sector can accept such increases”.
Comments on the National Minimum Wage Commission proposal for 2021 adjustment can be e-mailed to Unathi.Ramabulana@labour.gov.za no later than December 20, 2020.
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