The National Minimum Wage Act has created havoc with the protective workshop sector. The purpose of protective workshops is not for profit but to benefit the most vulnerable in society, through life and work skills, giving them a safe space and providing them with a meal so that people who care for them can, in fact, go out and work. These protective workshops rely on small government grants or subsidies and rely heavily on private donations for their very existence. Productivity is low and there is certainly no profit. The workers are given a stipend that is far below the national minimum wage. However, these workers are defined as workers in terms of the national minimum wage. Paying them less than the national minimum wage would mean that the workshops are breaking the law. Even with the minimal discount the minister has given in terms of her regulations — R2 per hour — the workshops cannot afford R18 per hour. Already we have seen workshops closing and others are considering ...

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