Changes made to youth wage subsidy

National Treasury said it made several changes to the Employment Tax Incentive Bill.

National Treasury said it made several changes to the Employment Tax Incentive Bill. Picture: EWN.

CAPE TOWN - Government's approach to addressing youth unemployment has been influenced by broad consultation over the past few years, National Treasury said on Tuesday.

Officials briefed the Standing Committee on Finance about the Employment Tax Incentive Bill in Parliament, Cape Town.

The bill is meant to give effect to the youth wage subsidy.

In 2010, President Jacob Zuma announced plans to introduce the subsidy in a bid to solve youth unemployment, but it was met with fierce opposition from the Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu) and other affiliates.

It was then referred to the National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) for consultation.

National Treasury deputy director-general Ismail Momoniat says these consultations resulted in several changes to the original approach.

New displacement penalties, the inclusion of minimum wage requirements and an adjustment to the age criteria were put into the bill.

Despite the changes, unions are still not happy.

Both Cosatu and the National Union of Metalworkers of South Africa (Numsa) are calling for the withdrawal of the entire bill.

Numsa Parliamentary Officer Woody Aroun said, "We remain strongly opposed to this [bill]. This whole incentive is an absolute sham. This is really going to put a lot of pressure on workers. It's going to put pressure on collective bargaining, and it's going to hamper our efforts towards economic and social justice."