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NMW exemptions to be subjected to annual review – Department of Labour

Mar 22, 2018
NMW exemptions to be subjected to annual review – Department of Labour

The granting of exemptions in terms of the proposed national minimum wage (NMW) Act will be subjected to an annual review, said Department of Labour, Deputy Director: Employment Standards Mathilda Bergmann.

Bergmann said that exemptions may be granted if the delegated authority (Department of Labour) is satisfied that: the employer cannot afford to pay the minimum wage; every representative trade union/workers has been meaningfully consulted; and must provide the bargaining council, union or affected workers a copy of the application.

She was addressing a Department of Labour employer’s and employer organisations briefing session on national minimum wage implementation and NMW exemption process.

The NMW Bill is currently in Parliament for consideration. The Bill is expected to be enacted ahead of its official implementation on 1 May 2018.

Section 15 of the NMW Bill makes provision for an employer or an employers’ organisation registered in terms of section 96 of the Labour Relations Act, acting on behalf of its members to apply for an exemption in the prescribed form and manner from paying the national minimum wage.

Bergmann cautioned that exemptions may be withdrawn if the employer has provided false or incorrect information; employer’s financial position has improved to the extent that the employer is able to pay NMW; employer is not complying with the notice.

She told the briefing session that regulations on exemptions were expected to be unveiled in about two weeks for comment. Bergmann said the adjudication process for exemptions would be managed electronically. She said employers would have to apply electronically into a system that is linked to SARS, the Department of Home Affairs, Department of Trade and Industry amongst others.  

The Department of Labour is hosting the series of national briefing sessions aimed at employers and employer organisations in order to educate them on the National Minimum Wage (NMW) exemption process.  

The first in a national series of employers and employer organisations kicked off in Gauteng on 19 March in Braamfontein and on 20 March in Pretoria. The Department of Labour plans to host 17 briefings sessions nationally. The employers and employer organisations briefing sessions follows on the heels of those held for trade unions and shop stewards on the implementation of the national minimum wage and amendments to labour laws. The 20 briefing session were held nationally from November 2017 until February 2018.

The worker representative briefing session were held in Johannesburg, Pretoria, Cape Town, George, Pietermaritzburg, Richards Bay, Durban, Tzaneen, Polokwane, Mbombela, Emalahleni, Klerksdorp, Rustenburg, Bloemfontein, Welkom, Umthatha, Eat London, Port Elizabeth, Upington and Kimberley. 


The National Minimum Wage is set for implementation from 1 May 2018. The agreed national minimum wage at NEDLAC is pegged at R20 an hour for major sectors, with the exception of sectors such as farm workers, domestic workers and expanded public works programme workers. The status of learnerships is expected to remain unchanged. 

The next employer briefing session will be held tomorrow (23 March) in George at Farm and Fellow Guest House, 233 Moerasrivier, Geelhoutboom Road. 

This will be followed by briefing sessions in KwaZulu-Natal (27 March in Durban; 28 March in Richards Bay); North West (03 April in Lichtenburg); Northern Cape (05 April in Springbok; 06 April in Upington); Eastern Cape (09 April in East London; 10 April in Port Elizabeth); Mpumalanga (12 April in Nelspruit; 13 April in Piet Retief); Limpopo (16 April in Tzaneen; 17 Polokwane in Polokwane); and Free State (19 April in Bloemfontein, 20 April in Bethlehem).


The employer briefing sessions start at 10:00am to 13:00pm.