Given that the Main Agreement was last gazette and extended in 2010 and many employers have been operating outside the terms and conditions of the Main Agreement – particularly when it comes to rates of pay – the signatories to 2021/ 2024 Main Agreement agreed it would not be feasible or practical to expect these employers to come on board overnight.

Hence, it was agreed that a phased approach would be needed and that this process would form part of a broader project aimed at eventually achieving parity with the Main Agreement. Phase one of the project establishes the target of reaching 60% of the 2020 minimum rates of pay by 30 June 2024.

For purposes of illustration, below is the 2020 general wage table and the target of 60% to be reached by 30 June 2024.



Minimum Wage Rates as at 1 July 2020 60% of 2020 Minimum Wage Structure


84,75 50,85

AA (6)



AA (start) 77,18






70,53 42,32
C 67,96



66,58 39,95




DDD 59,10


E 56,47


F 54,10


G 51,65


H 49,55


The same principle applies across all the main agreement wage tables (i.e., electric cable; structural engineering; five grade; vehicle drivers; gate and fence manufacturing – but excluding apprentices and construction sites covered by a project labour agreement).

In broad terms, the special phase-in license of exemption will stipulate that notwithstanding that an employer is paying below 60% of the 2020 rates (as per the table above), leave pay and leave enhancement pay must be calculated on the 60% rate as set out above.

Employers operating in terms of a special phase-in license of exemption paying less than 60% of the 2020 wage rates will be required to implement the 1 July 2023 wage increases as a Rand/ cents increase on what workers are actually earning.

Employers paying above 60% but less than 100% of the 2020 rates, operating in terms of a special phase-in license of exemption, will be required to award the 1 July 2023 wage increases as a Rand/cents increase on what workers are actually earning and calculate leave pay and leave enhancement pay on workers actual rates of pay.

In light of the above, the MEIBC National Exemptions Policy has been amended by way of the insertion of a new section dealing with Phase-In Exemption.

This new clause, referencing the Special Phase-In Exemption, is available to all employers covered by the scope of application of the Main Agreement, regardless of whether or not they are members of a party or non-party employer organization.

The next round of industry increases will become applicable on 1 July 2023 and will again, be awarded on a Rand/cent basis.

Any employer wishing to apply for an exemption from these increases is at liberty to do so on or before 31 July 2023.

Should you require any assistance in applying for a Special Phase-in Exemption or any other matter covered by the Main Agreement, please contact the SEIFSA Office at (011) 298-9400 and ask for Vuyiswa, Michael, Monica, or Lucio – we will be more than happy to assist.

If you would like to find out a little bit more about the benefits of joining an Association federated with SEIFSA fill in the membership form, or send us an email at nuraan@seifsa.co.za

Next week I will address the elephant in the room, R78 per hour, watch this space!

Lucio Trentini

SEIFSA Chief Executive Officer