The National Minimum Wage Act (NMWA) officially came into effect on 1 January 2019.
Under the Act, the national minimum wage was set at R20 per hour, with special provisions of R18 per hour (farm workers), R15 per hour (domestic workers), and R11 per hour (Extended Public Works Programme Workers).
As part of the new national minimum wage changes, the Basic Conditions of Employment Act was also amended to confer new enforcement jurisdiction on the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) for disputes.
Previously such matters could only be included in CCMA referrals related to dismissals.
In a statement released on Wednesday (16 January), the CCMA said that its regional offices reported that since 2 January 2019 there has been a strong showing of interest from the public to enquire about their rights relating to the new legislative changes.
However, it noted that the queries which were received at the CCMA offices and its call centre have not yet translated into a high volume of referrals.
“By 11 January 2019 a total of just over 200 referrals were received relating to the BCEA and NMWA,” it said.
“It is anticipated that after the January 2019 paydays, a more pronounced flow of referrals would be received.
“It was reported at the 2018 CCMA Conference that the CCMA’s caseload would increase by at least 15%, while there has been speculation from the Labour market that this number would be much higher.”
In anticipation of a high volume of dispute referrals, the CCMA said it has now established telephone lines specifically dedicated to assisting with queries relating to the new national minimum wage.
The dedicated telephone numbers for receiving all National Minimum Wage Act and related calls from users and the public are: 011 377 6627 and 011 377 6625.
Referral forms can be obtained at CCMA offices and the CCMA website at www.ccma.org.za, it said.