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Draft Committee Bill to Amend NMW Act on the Cards

February 26, 2019

Portfolio Committee on Labour

The portfolio committee on labour is planning a draft committee bill to deal with a technical error found in the National Minimum Wage Act.

The act, setting a minimum wage of R20 per hour, came into force on 1 January 2019.

A special meeting of the committee was held last week to discuss how the error could be corrected.

According to a parliamentary legal advisor, section 17(4) of the act incorrectly refers to cross-section 4(6) rather than 4(8) in terms of retrospective effect from 1 May 2017.

Section 4(8) stipulates that it is an unfair labour practice for an employer to unilaterally alter wages, hours of work and other conditions of employment.

The section wants to prevent a situation where an employer unilaterally changed certain conditions of employment once the bill had been tabled in parliament to avoid paying the minimum wage.

Currently, the act stipulates that, in accordance with section 4(6), the minimum wage be back-dated to 1 May 2017.

The plan is for a draft committee bill to be published for comment early in February 2019 once approval from the national assembly has been obtained.

During the meeting, the legislative process to amend the act was outlined.