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The Portfolio Committee on Labour met at the beginning of the week to finalise the National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill, which seeks to amend the National Minimum Wage Act, 2018 (Act 9 of 2018), which came into effect on 1 January 2019.

The committee said the introduction of the National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill is aimed at correcting a cross referencing error in section 17 (4) of the Act. Section 4 (6) was supposed to refer to section 4 (8), which reads as follows:

“It is an unfair labour practise for an employer to unilaterally alter wages, hours of work or other conditions of employment in connection with the implementation of the national minimum wage and section 191, 193, 194 (4) and 195 of the Labour Relations Act apply, unless the context indicates otherwise.”

The committee proposes that the Bill must be dealt with in accordance with the procedure established by section 75 of the Constitution, since it contains no provisions to which the procedures set out in section 74 or 76 of the Constitution apply.

The committee has agreed that the bill be called the National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill [B9 – 2019].

Parliamentary legal services briefed the committee that it has certified that the National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill, 2019, is:

  • consistent with the Constitution and existing legislation; and
  • properly drafted in the form and style which conforms to legislative drafting practice.

The Department of Labour and National Economic Development and Labour Council indicated its support for the Bill. The Independent Municipal and Allied Trade Unions, the Commission for Gender Equality, Elcort Matlala, Black First and Land First and the Congress of the South African Trade Unions submitted written submissions to the National Minimum Wage Amendment Bill. All of them supported the amendment.

The Chairperson of the Committee, Mr Lemias Mashile, acknowledged that all written submissions had nothing to do with the correction of the cross-referencing error, but it was clear that everyone welcomed and supported the Bill.

Zizipho Klaas
20 March 2019