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Workers could be worse off with minimum wage exemptions

Publish date: 06 February 2019
Issue Number: 272
Diary: Legalbrief Workplace
Category: Labour

The exemption provided for in regulations under the National Minimum Wage Act means that workers in some sectors will, in effect, be earning poverty wages. Business Day reports that this is according to the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group, programme co-ordinator, Mervyn Abrahams, who said: ‘When the national minimum wage was first mooted, it was said that it would help the 6.7m lowest paid workers earning less than R4 000 a month. Now that the National Minimum Wage Act has been passed and with the publication of the regulations, which see exemption thresholds taking 10% off the hourly rate for workers, the wages of many of the most vulnerable workers will be set even lower than the current sectoral determinations. Assuming that the bulk of the corporate sector will seek some form of exemption and this exemption will then become the norm; workers will in fact be worse off.’

Full Business Day report