DA wants workers to be free to opt out of national minimum wage

(Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

(Delwyn Verasamy/M&G)

The Democratic Alliance’s federal congress has adopted a resolution to allow employees to opt out of the national minimum wage agreement, and have them accept lesser salaries if they so wish.

The decision is part of a number of policy resolutions being taken by the party at its two-day congress being held in Tshwane, which could become national policy should the DA assume national governance.

The resolution involves implementing a Job Seeker’s Exemption certificate (JSEC) that will be put in place under a DA-led national government to allow unemployed individuals the right to enter to employment contracts on their own terms, even if the contracts offer a wage less than R3 500.

The exemption certificate, which will be valid for two years, will be given to people who have been unemployed for 12 months or more, giving them “the right to enter into any employment agreements with an employer on any conditions with which they are comfortable,” the party said.

The party has often raised objections with the national minimum wage, cautioning that it does not take into consideration that imposing such a measure might discourage employers from creating jobs.

“Laws should not prevent people from earning a living on their own terms,” the party says in its policy resolution document.

“Those who experience long term unemployment i.e. being without work for one year or more, tend to earn less once they are employed, are in poorer health, and have children whose academic performance fares worse than similar workers who avoided unemployment,” it adds.

The party believes people who are willing to take on a salary of less than R3 500 should not be prohibited by laws, which it believes will only serve to increase unemployment.

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