What is a Minimum Wage?
It’s the lowest hourly, daily or monthly wage which employers may legally pay their workers. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) makes provision for the Minister of Labour to set minimum terms and conditions of employment, including minimum wages. The Minster usually reviews minimum wages annually.
Why Do We Have Minimum Wages?
Many countries around the world, including South Africa, set minimum wages to protect the most vulnerable workers from exploitation. In South Africa, minimum wages are prescribed per sector (for example, wholesale and retail sector) or per area (whether rural or urban) – unlike in the United Kingdom, where there is a national minimum wage.
Is it Illegal Not to Pay Minimum Wages?
Yes. The Department of Labour has inspectors who monitor compliance with the law and investigate any complaints. Complaints against an employer who is not paying minimum wage can be lodged at the Department of Labour and, should they be found guilty, they will be liable to pay a fine and back-pay to the worker.
Where Can I Get Information on Minimum Wages?
For basic guides to minimum wages for all the Sectoral Determinations, visit the website of the Department of Labour.