Labour on penalties for flouting minimum wage

Penalties for flouting minimum wage, says Department of Labour Director

Penalties are in place to deal with employers who contravene the National Minimum Wage (NMW) once it is implemented, Department of Labour Director: Employment Standards, Stephen Rathai, told stakeholders during an engagement session in Pietermaritzburg today.

These would include, said Rathai, compelling non-compliant employers to pay the worker twice the amount that is owed for non-payment. He stressed that the penalties are being considered to serve as a deterrent to non-compliant employers.

The briefing sessions, which are being held around the country, are aimed at engaging trade unions and other stakeholders on the NMW and amendments to the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Labour Relations Act.

Rathai also revealed that once the NMW is implemented, labour inspectors will be able to refer non-compliance with the NMW to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for an arbitration award.

Rathai told stakeholders that when The NMW is law, a NMW Commission would be established to review the NMW and make recommendations annually on its adjustment. The Commission, he said, would also investigate the impact of the NMW on the economy, collective bargaining and income differential, amongst others.

The National Minimum Wage Commission will also make recommendations on adjusting the NMW based on inflation, cost of living, wage levels, productivity, and wage differentials, said Rathai.

He also explained that employers could also apply for exemptions however; these would be considered on the merits of each application and if granted.

The National Minimum Wage will be the floor level below which no employee should be paid. The level will be at R20 per hour. It will be the amount payable for the ordinary hours of work and the worker is entitled to receive the minimum wage for the number of hours worked in a day, said Rathai.

He said the NMW for domestic workers will be 75% of the NMW while NMW for farm workers will be 90% of the NMW.

The trade unions and stakeholders were encouraged to submit any inputs to the Department.

The next workshop will be held in Richards Bay tomorrow 23 November at uMhlathuzi Municipality, followed by another one in Durban at Tropicana Hotel on the 24th November. All workshops start at 10:00 and finish at 13:00.

Source: Government of South Africa