As we enter 2019, we are already finding many retrenchments as the economy had a very slow start. The implementation of the National Minimum Wage Act is going to hit many businesses hard and businesses need to understand that if they are paying in excess of the R20,00 per hour, they cannot bring their wages down to R20,00 per hour. Furthermore, even if you engage casual labour, you are obliged to at least pay them R80,00 per day and if they do more than 4 hours you need to add an extra R20,00 per hour. If the business is in an industry paying more than R20,00 per hour, one cannot justify lowering the wage to R20,00.

We are waiting for the President to sign into effect the changes to the Unemployment Insurance Act and the Labour Laws Amendment Act. These changes will be communicated in early course, as they deal with parental adoption and commissioning parental leave. There will be greater rights to maternity benefits, and greater rights to illness benefits.

We are also waiting for changes to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Amendment Act which will provide coverage for domestic employees, and will provide for rehabilitation, reintegration and return to work of occupationally injured and diseased employees. It will regulate the use of healthcare services and will provide for the reopening of various claims. There will be criminal and administrative penalties, and there will be stricter compliance and enforcement. The exciting changes to the Labour Relations Act have provided for picketing by collective agreement, and picketing regulations during strikes. There will be a new classification for minimum service during a strike, and there certainly will be the extension of the meaning of ballot to include any voting by members that is recorded in secret. Importantly, the Minister may step in to provide advisory awards when strikes have become too onerous.

If any sectorial determination at the date of the promulgation of the national minimum wage prescribes wages that are higher than the national minimum wage, the wages in that sectorial determination and the renumeration and associated benefits based on those wages must be increased proportionately to any adjustment of the national minimum wage in years to come.