South Africa is entering 2019 with a lot of uncertainty on whether or not it will be a good year for everyone. The new National Minimum Wage Bill is meant to at least give workers a little boost as they earn a little more.
The National Minim Wage Bill was signed and President Ramaphosa hopes it will change things for the better for South Africans.
For those still a little hazy on details about the new minimum wage, Briefly.co.za gathered some facts about it.
The new rate
The new Bill stipulates that the national minimum rate is R20 per hour, or R3 500 per month, depending on hours worked.
The rate will be phased in slowly in the domestic work and agriculture sectors. Currently, workers are earning R15 and R18 per hour.
When did the rate kick in?
The Bill actually took a long time to become law. It was agreed upon in February 2017, and the National Council of Provinces and National Assembly signed it into law in May 2018.
But President Ramaphosa only signed it into law in November 2018. The Bill came into effect on the 1st of January 2019.
Who thought of a national minimum wage?
Cosatu asked for a national minimum wage way back in 1997, and business, government, labour and civil society signed the Ekurhuleni Declaration in 2014, which led to the current Bill.
Is the Bill supported by all?
The Federation of Unions of South Africa and Cosatu fully support the wage and said it will affect about 6 million people.
The CEO of Business Unity SA, Tanya Cohen, says the national minimum wage is a positive thing.
However, SAFTU (South African Federation of Trade Unions ) has protested against the wage, saying it is not a living wage.
News24 reported that SAFTU challenged President Ramaphosa to try and live on the minimum wage.
Some economists also warn that the new wage could increase the country's unemployment rate by making it more expensive to hire workers.
Where is South Africa at now?
With a new year lying ahead like a fresh field waiting to be worked on, South Africa has a lot of potential, if it is used correctly.
However, ongoing corruption, crime, the land issue, and racism could put a damper on South Africa's growth.
It all depends on how the country's leadership handle things from now on. Focus should be on the future, not just the general elections of May.
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