Tag: Labour

Raise awareness around provisions of Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Laws Amendment Bill

In considering the Labour budget, the ACDP would just like to highlight three areas of concern. 

Firstly, it is not clear how far the department is in terms of being ready with regulations and other necessary measures for the implementation of both the new Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Laws Amendment Bill which provides for parental and adoption leave. The excitement generated around these laws have left many people hopeful and anxious to be able to benefit.

The second concern is linked to the first and the realisation that many more people will have no idea about their rights in terms of these pieces of legislation. Employers will also need to benefit from awareness campaigns.

The ACDP calls on the department to ensure that awareness campaigns, regulations and other measures necessary to deliver on the provisions of the bills are planned for and speedily executed so that there are no unnecessary delays in implementation once the Minimum Wage Bill and the Labour Laws Amendment Bill are signed into law.

The ACDP welcomes the progress made with regard to a minimum wage in South Africa, although we are troubled by the reality that the minimum wage is NOT a livable wage. We appeal to employers NOT to regard the minimum wage as a norm. It is only a worst-case scenario.

The ACDP is also encouraged by the support shown for the ACDP’s Labour Laws Amendment Bill that has taken cautious but definite steps in recognising the importance of family and the need for parents to bond with their children and share child care responsibilities.

Lastly, the ACDP would like to raise concerns about the lack of funds budgeted for labour inspectors, without which workers will be extremely vulnerable to the whims of unethical employers. How many lives would be spared if inspections were being more regularly and thoroughly carried out?  Farm workers are spread so far and wide that they are unlikely to see labour inspectors very often and this makes an even stronger argument for the need for awareness campaigns to target relevant sectors so that people know their rights and have, at least, some hope of standing up for themselves where budgets fail to do so.

The ACDP will support the department in all efforts to provide the support workers and families need in order to be productive and to build a stronger and more prosperous nation.

15 May 2018

ACDP disappointed that National Minimum Wage was not implemented yesterday

The ACDP recognises the role that the National Minimum Wage can play in reducing poverty and inequality, and at the same time, encouraging growth in domestic demand and productivity in the economy.

It has been widely acknowledged as an important intervention to assist low paid workers, and if properly implemented, has the potential to lift the earnings of literally millions of low paid workers.

Fedusa’s Dennis George has said that it is ‘keenly aware that a R3,500 a month minimum wage is less than an ideal living wage, but will certainly lift an estimated 4.5 million workers currently earning below that amount out of abject poverty’.

It is disappointing therefore that the National Minimum Wage, which was negotiated at length between Nedlac partners, was not implemented by yesterday, 1 May.

The aim will be also to elevate the domestic worker and agricultural sectors to be on par with the National Minimum Wage, within 2 years of implementation of the Act, and after research by the Commission.

Managing productivity will be the responsibility of the employer and it will become more important to manage productivity properly as the cost of labour increases. Employers will also be able to apply for an exemption similar to the sectoral exemptions that can presently be applied for in terms of section 50 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. The Department of Labour is currently finalising an online system for employers to apply for such exemptions with an expedited turn-around time of 30 days of the consideration of such applications.

The ACDP questions how NGOs, particularly those NGOs performing state functions, will be dealt with by the Bill. The early childhood development sector is an example where NGOs receive a grant from the Department of Social Development to provide these services. In 2013 the average salary was R1,373. Without proper coordination across government and possible increases in these grants, these NGOs will be unable to pay their staff the minimum wage. Similar problems may arise for NGO healthcare workers.

The Shukumisa Coalition of NGOs working in the social care sector from supporting rape survivors to running domestic violence shelters and serving people with disabilities, similarly warned MPs during public hearings on the Bill of closures of services meant to protect the most vulnerable, including children and the youth. The ACDP trusts that concerns in this regard are being addressed.

The question also arises why the Expanded Public Works Programme (EPWP) has been included in Schedule 1 of the Bill. Workers enrolled in this programme are entitled to a minimum remuneration of R11 per hour. The EPWP has been identified as a flagship job creation and poverty alleviation initiative. The argument was that raising the wages of the EPWP would place too much strain on the national fiscus.

The ACDP believes that if widespread fraud and corruption in the public sector is addressed, this will unlock more resources.

We trust that the Commission will consider whether the EPWP should be excluded from the R20 per hour and what it would cost to achieve R20 per hour.

While there are some challenges with this Bill, they are not insurmountable and it is incumbent upon Parliament to pass it as quickly as possible.

NATIONAL ASSEMBLY DEBATE: Celebrating 100 years of Nelson Mandela — Restoration of workers’ right to dignity through the National Minimum Wage
2 May 2018