Labour department minimum wage limits
This week, new research commissioned by the department of labour presented R3 400 per month as an “empirically reasonable upper-limit estimate” of what the promised national minimum wage could be.
At the low end, the report proposes R2 447 per month as a reasonable assumption.
The upper limit is equal to the median wage in South Africa, while the lower one is the median of the minimum wages already in place through the sectoral determination system.
The report was produced for government by the University of Cape Town’s Development Policy Research Unit.
The research unit doesn’t specifically endorse a level, but presents this as the probable range within which a wage could get set.
Other research units, particularly at the University of the Witwatersrand, have taken seriously the possibility of minimum wages as high as R4 500 and above – echoing labour union demands.
These numbers assume that the worker in question works 195 hours a month – nine hours a day, every weekday.
In hourly terms, the range translates to between R12.55 and R17.44 an hour.
The research unit also interviewed a number of current and former members of the Employment Conditions Commission, which currently sets the sectoral determination wages.
The commissioners “unanimously” agreed that minimum wages should be set in the way they currently are – with experts sitting alongside representatives of labour and business. Unions have been pushing for the eventual minimum wage not to be set by a technocratic committee.