Whilst the National Minimum Wage Act prescribes minimum wages for all workers, the Act also makes provision for an employer or an employers’ organisation, acting on behalf of its members, to apply for an exemption.
Section 15 of the National Minimum Wage Act reads as follows:
(1) An employer or an employers’ organisation registered in terms of section 96 of the Labour Relations Act, or any other law, acting on behalf of a member, may, in the prescribed form and manner, apply for an exemption from paying the national minimum wage.
(2) An exemption granted in terms of this section—
(a) must specify the period for which it is granted, which may not be longer than one year;
(b) must specify the wage that the employer is required to pay workers; and
(c) may contain any other relevant condition.”
When applying for an exemption, it must be proved that:
1) the employer cannot afford to pay the minimum wage; and
2) the employer has meaningfully consulted with every representative trade union representing one or more of the affected workers, or if there is no trade union representing the employees, the affected workers themselves.
The “prescribed form” to apply for an exemption is now an online process which can be found at https://nmw.labour.gov.za.