Following the release of the report by the National Minimum Wage Advisory Panel, there has been much discussion about the level, and impact of the level, proposed by the panel. Surprisingly, there has been little, if any, debate on the panel’s proposal that the national minimum wage be based on an hourly, rather than a monthly, wage. In SA, wages are generally benchmarked at a monthly or yearly rate. Indeed, very few waged workers and salaried professionals would be able to tell you their hourly wage. Why, then, did the panel depart from the general practice and propose a minimum hourly – rather than monthly – rate? As the agreement reached at Nedlac was consistent with the panel’s proposal for the national minimum wage to be based on an hourly wage, it is important that the public understands the basis for the recommendation. The panel proposed a minimum wage of R20 per hour (with a provision for a minimum number of hours worked at four hours). This equates to a monthly figure of R...

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