Fathoming the National Minimum Wage (NMW)

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What are the practicalities in implementation when trying to apply and decode the draft Bill?

I have spent considerable time recently evaluating the practicalities of implementing the Bill on the NMW at numerous clients’ requests. I find it lacking clarity as there are no practical methods for calculating wages and it doesn’t adhere to ‘plain language principle’. If this isn’t addressed, its application will be fraught with varied interpretations and frustration, leading to an increase in disputes, and reduced compliance. I will attempt to explain these conclusions through this piece.

My view is that the draft Bill in its current form does not comply, among other things, with basic plain language drafting criteria. For example, the absence of footnotes, being an obvious omission. Secondly, when understanding or interpreting the Bill there is a need to reference other laws (e.g. BCEA) to clarify concepts or references in it. The absence of this content makes interpretation and compliance quite a challenge.

Plain and easily referenced language has been a hallmark of the raft of labour laws promulgated to date. The principle has always been that it is written to ensure that it is accessible to all people. This Bill does not seem to adhere to the principle of keeping it simple and plain, hence limiting its accessibility.

It seems that the over focus in the negotiations on the actual concept of a NMW, has not necessarily lead to a concise and clear process for actually fathoming the wage rate.

Case study

The interpretation is best illustrated in this simple scenario.

An employee,…


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