Campaign to shine spotlight on minimum wage
SANEWS.GOV / 19 FEBRUARY 2020 - 15.44 / STAFF REPORTER
Employers who have thus far ignored the payment of the National Minimum Wage (NMW) need to beware.
The Department of Employment and Labour will soon launch a campaign where employees who ought to be receiving the National Minimum Wage will be able to report non-receipt of the wage anonymously.
Speaking to SAnews on Wednesday, the Department of Employment and Labour’s Chief Director of Labour Relations, Thembinkosi Mkhaliphi, said the campaign will be launched by Minister Thulas Nxesi on 6 March 2020.
The campaign will involve users being asked to dial a toll-free number to report whether or not they are receiving the NMW.
“The communication will ask if you are being paid a minimum wage and if not, a user will reply accordingly,” he said, adding that a person can remain anonymous with the only requirement being one’s company/or employer address.
Following the reporting of the matter, the department will within seven days of the complaint, dispatch an inspector to the complainant’s place of work to resolve the matter.
“It will be free for the user and we think that will be a game changer,” said Mkhaliphi in an interview held at the Government Communication and Information System (GCIS) head office in Pretoria.
He said more needs to be done to educate society on the minimum wage.
The campaign he said, will grant the department a window into whether eligible workers have access to the NMW which came into operation on 1 January 2019.
“We will then know whether workers are getting the wage or not - and in which sectors and areas,” he said.
Ensuring better wages for workers
Mkhaliphi’s comments come as the minimum wage is set to increase as of 1 March 2020. This follows the gazetting of the increase from R20 to R20.76 cents an hour, by Minister Thulas Nxesi, on Monday.
“The review we’ve done now is purely to protect the NMW against inflation,” he said.
The department is also working on assessing the impact of the NMW on unemployment.
“If research shows that the introduction of the minimum wage has not been negative to employment, there’s no reason that the [NMW] Commission would not have a bigger percentage to review the NMW next year.”
After the research has been concluded, the department will release a public report on the matter.
This, as currently there is data available on what has been the effect of the minimum wage on employment since it was only implemented from 1 January last year.
“It doesn’t help to have a high minimum wage and then people are unemployed. You have to make sure that policy interventions introduced in the labour market don’t make the unemployment situation worse.”
The department has been receiving raw data from Statistics South Africa’s Quarterly Labour Force Survey (QLFS).
The QLFS is a household-based sample survey conducted by Stats SA. It collects data on the labour market activities of individuals aged 15 years and above who live in South Africa.
“We are awaiting the fourth quarter data from Stats SA, then will do research after receiving the raw data from Stats SA so that we can see whether the introduction of the national minimum wage in 2019 has affected employment negatively.”
This research he said, will feed into the review of the national minimum wage next year.
Disclaimer - The views expressed here are not necessarily those of the BEE CHAMBER