Which employees can be paid less than the prescribed National Minimum Wage?

Which employees can be paid less than the prescribed National Minimum Wage?

Which employees can be paid less than the prescribed National Minimum Wage?

The National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA) has continued to raise confusion around whom may be paid less than the prescribed minimum set amount of R20,00 per each ordinary hour actually worked.

The only category of employees deemed to be excluded from the R20,00 per hour amount are contained in Schedule 1 of the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA). They are farm workers, domestic workers, workers employed on an expanded public works programme and workers who have concluded learnership agreements with employers.

This blog will deal with your questions on employee exclusions from the prescribed national minimum wage.

SCHEDULE 1, ITEMS 1 – 3 of the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA):

Employee exclusion and entitlement per category

1. Subject to Item 2, the national minimum wage is R20 for each ordinary hour worked.

2. Notwithstanding Item 1–

  • farm workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R18 per hour effective from a date set by the President per proclamation in the Government Gazette;
  • domestic workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R15 per hour effective from a date set by the President per proclamation in the Government Gazette;
  • workers employed on an expanded public works programme are entitled to a minimum wage of R11 per hour effective from a date set by the President per proclamation in the Government Gazette; and
  • workers who have concluded learnership agreements as contemplated in Section 17 of the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No. 97 of 1998) are entitled to the allowances stipulated in Schedule 2.

3. For the purposes of Item 2—

  • ‘‘farm worker’’ means a worker who is employed mainly or wholly in connection with farming or forestry activities, including a domestic worker employed in a home on a farm or forestry environment and a security guard on a farm or other agricultural premises, and excluding a security guard employed in the private security industry in terms of the Private Security Industry Regulation Act, 2001 (Act No. 56 of 2001);
  • ‘‘domestic worker’’ means a worker who performs domestic work in a private household and who receives, or is entitled to receive, a wage, including—

a gardener;

a person employed by a household as a driver of a motor vehicle;

a person who takes care of children, the aged, the sick, the frail or the disabled; and

domestic workers employed or supplied by employment services; and

  • ‘‘expanded public works programme’’ means a programme to provide public or community services through a labour-intensive programme determined by the Minister in terms of Section 50 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and funded from public resources.

SCHEDULE 2, Items 1 and 2 of the National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA):

Allowance for learnership employees

1. For the purposes of this Schedule—

  • ‘‘allowance’’ means the amount of money paid or payable to a learner in terms of regulation 3 of the Sectoral Determination 5: Learnership made under the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, published in Government Notice 519 of 15 June 2001 as amended by Government Notice R.234 of 15 March 2011;
  • ‘‘credit’’ means a credit earned as defined in the Regulations made under the South African Qualifications Authority Act, 1995 (Act No. 58 of 1995), Government Notice R.452, published in Government Gazette 18787 of 28 March 1998;
  • ‘‘learner’’ means—

a person who has concluded a learnership agreement in terms of Section 17 of Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No. 97 of 1998); including

an apprentice;

  • ‘‘NQF level’’ means a level on the national qualification framework as contemplated in the National Qualifications Framework Act, 2008 (Act No. 67 of 2008).

The minimum learnership allowances per week are as follows:

  • NQF level 1 to 2

- 0–120 credits already earned by learner, R301,01;

- 121–240 credits already earned by learner, R601,99.

  • NQF level 3

- 0–120 credits already earned by learner, R301,01;

- 121–240 credits already earned by learner, R566,93;

- 241–360 credits already earned by learner, R928,11.

  • NQF level 4

- 0–120 credits already earned by learner, R301,01;

- 121–240 credits already earned by learner, R602,05;

- 241–360 credits already earned by learner, R928,11;

- 361–480 credits already earned by learner, R1 354,51.

  • NQF level 5 to 8

- 0–120 credits already earned by learner, R301,01;

- 121–240 credits already earned by learner, R652,15;

- 241–360 credits already earned by learner, R975,75

- 361–480 credits already earned by learner, R1 374,61;

- 481–600 credits already earned by learner, R1 755,84.

SERR Synergy provides employers with updated information regarding the prescribed national minimum wage. Our services include drawing up or review of all contracts of employment that comply with the latest legislation for employees engaged in farm work, domestic work and extended public work projects. Please contact us should you have any questions about learnership programmes or the Youth Employment Service (YES) programme which are specifically designed for businesses that wish to qualify for additional learnership tax rebates to maximise their BEE points and qualify for additional bonus points.

About the Author: Jared Francis joined SERR Synergy in October 2016, and currently holds the title of KZN Labour Manager. He is an admitted attorney who has practised in KZN and Gauteng. He holds an LLB degree, a Post-Graduate Diploma in Industrial Relations and a Post-Graduate Certificate in Forensic Investigation from the University of KwaZulu-Natal. He also holds Post-Graduate Certificates in Advanced Labour Law, Corporate Law, Advanced Human Resource Management and Health and Safety from UNISA and has more than 10 years’ experience in the legal and industrial relations fields respectively.

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