National minimum wage announced

The Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, announced the long-anticipated national minimum wage. This comes after two years of negotiations at various levels, said Ramaphosa. According to Neil Hamman, who chairs Agri SA’s Labour Committee, “this brings certainty for agriculture regarding the remuneration levels that will be payable in the next year”. The new national minimum wage, which will take effect on 1 May 2018, is based on an hourly rate of R20. The agricultural sector will initially have to pay 90% of the said wage, i.e. R18 per hour. The 2018 implementation date is now a year earlier than initially announced.

Agriculture will, as from March this year, start paying R15,39 per hour. This is in light of an 8% increase in minimum wage levels for agriculture announced by the Minister of Labour, which has already brought the sector closer to the wage announced today, said Hamman.

“Agri SA places a high value on the labour force in the agricultural sector. This sector is still afflicted by drought in many parts of the country and various farmers have not yet recovered from the impact thereof. According to Hamman, the sector is also still recovering from the big increase in wage levels introduced in 2013.

“Farmers who are still be unable to afford the increase, can apply for a section 50 variation,” he said. There will be an opportunity to apply for the variation before the national minimum wage comes into effect in 2018. A variation can only be granted for a period of one year, which can serve as temporary relief.

The table below provides further elucidation on the wage structures applicable to agriculture from 2016 to 2020:

Minimum wage period Monthly Weekly Daily Hourly
1 March 2016 to

28 February 2017

R2 778,83 R641,32 R128,26

(applicable to an employee who works

9 hours a day)

R14,25
1 March 2017 to

28 February 2018

R3 001,13 R692,62 R138,52

(applicable to an employee who works

9 hours a day)

R15,39
1 May 2018 to

30 April 2019

R18.00
1 May 2019 to

30 April 2020

R20.00