The minimum wage for the agriculture and forestry sectors will increase as from March 1, to ensure that workers’ salaries keep up with the rising cost of living, the Department of Labour (DoL) announced on Wednesday.
The decision followed extensive consultations with employers and employees in these sectors.
The hourly rate would increase to R14.25, the weekly rate to R641.32 and the monthly rate to R2 778.83.
The DoL, however, also noted that it was aware of the challenges faced by the agricultural sector owing to the drought and the fact that many farmers were having to consider whether or not to retain labour.
“We encourage farmers in areas that are affected by drought to apply for ministerial variations in terms of Section 50 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act. Section 50 makes provision for the Minister to replace or exclude any basic condition of employment provided for in the Act,” said Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant.
She noted that farmers were encouraged to solicit guidance on how to apply for variations from their relevant associations.