Deputy President Cyril Ramaphosa and members of the committee of principals received the report of the advisory panel on the national minimum wage at the National Economic Development and Labour Council last Sunday. The panel recommended that, subject to certain exclusions and tiers, SA’s first national minimum wage should be R20 an hour – about R3,500 per month for the average worker who, recent research shows, works about 41 hours per week. It has been heartening for the panel that our proposal has received widespread support from all parts of society. We have, however, received our fair share of criticism. Some have criticised us for setting a level that is too low, arguing it is below various poverty lines. For example, some estimates place the working poverty line at R4,317 per month. Arguments have been made for R4,500 and even R12,500 as the minimum level. On the other hand, a number of commentators have argued that the proposed level is too high and is likely to lead to an i...

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