National Minimum Wage: No major negative impact on employment

Wednesday, May 25, 2022

Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi, says ever since its inception, the National Minimum Wage (NMW) has not, contrary to assertions, had any negative impact on employment. 

Nxesi said this when he tabled the department’s budget vote during a mini plenary of the National Assembly on Tuesday. 

“Contrary to the opposition’s belief that the introduction of the minimum wage would have a negative impact on employment levels, the research findings indicate that there is no major negative impact on employment as a result of the National Minimum Wage,” he said. 

The National Minimum Wage Act was assented to in November 2018, setting a historic precedent in the protection of low-earning, vulnerable workers in South Africa. This also provided a platform for reducing inequality and the huge disparities in income in the labour market. 

Nxesi said, meanwhile, that the recent 6.9% adjustment of the National Minimum Wage, which increased rates from R21.69 to R23.19 per hour effective 1 March, 2022, would benefit tens of thousands of domestic workers. 

This is, he said, applicable to all sectors, including the farming and domestic work sectors. 

“This increase will benefit about 892 000 domestic workers who are overwhelmingly women, and 800 000 farmworkers.” 

Support for desperate job seekers 

The Minister said, meanwhile, that the department’s Public Employment Services branch -- which drives the implementation of labour market policies, including the provision of free career counselling, job placement, retraining and up-skilling -- strives to create an enabling environment for employment. 

“At an operational level, the Department of Employment and Labour continues to provide support to many desperate work seekers. For the period April 2021 to 28 February 2022, 839 000 work seekers were enrolled by the department on its Employment Services of South Africa system, and 257 000 work seekers were provided with employment counselling services by the department’s employment counsellors.”   

Nxesi said 124 000 job opportunities were canvassed with employers, and 59 000 unemployed work seekers were placed in employment opportunities. 

“It is important that this service is utilised across the economy and across the public sector.” –

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