Government announces national minimum wage increase

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The SA government has published a new national minimum wage: R21.69 per hour. This is an increase of 4.5% from last year

Last year, the National Minimum Wage Commission recommended that the minimum wage be increased by inflation (currently around 3%) plus 1.5%.

It noted that inflation for poorer households is currently significantly higher than for higher-income earners, due to the relatively sharp increase in food prices. Because the households of minimum-wage earners spend more of their income on food, this hurts them more than higher earners.

Also, the minimum wage is still below the upper-bound poverty line (of R1,268 per person per month).

Domestic workers

The minimum wages of domestic workers increased from R15.57 per hour to R19.09, a hike of almost 23%. The commission wants the minimum wage for domestic workers – who still, even after the latest increase, earn 12% less than other minimum wage workers – to be exactly the same as the national wage by next year.

Apart from house cleaning work, domestic workers also include gardeners, drivers and people who look after children, the aged, sick, frail or disabled in a private household (but not on a farm).

Farm workers

From this year, the minimum wage for farm workers is now equal to the national minimum wage, after earning 10% less in the past year. This is thanks to a 16% bump of R18.68 to R21.69 this year.

Public works programme workers

Workers employed on an expanded public works programme are entitled to a minimum wage of R11.93 per hour.

Retail and wholesale workers

One set of minimum wages is effective for workers in these municipalities and metropolitan areas: Breede Valley, Buffalo City, Cape Agulhas, Cederberg, City of Cape Town, City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, City of Tshwane, Drakenstein, Ekurhuleni, Emalahleni, Emfuleni, Ethekwini Metropolitan Unicity, Gamagara, George, Hibiscus Coast, Karoo Hoogland, Kgatelopele, / /Khara Hais, Knysna, Kungwini, Kouga, Hessequa local authority, Lesedi, Makana, Mangaung, Matzikama, Metsimaholo, Middelburg (Mpumalanga), Midvaal, Mngeni, Mogale, Mosselbaai, Msunduzi, Mtubatuba, Nama Khoi, Nelson Mandela, Nokeng tsa Taemane, Oudtshoorn, Overstrand, Plettenbergbaai, Potchefstroom, Randfontein, Richtersveld, Saldanha Bay, Sol Plaatjie, Stellenbosch, Swartland, Swellendam, Theewaterskloof, Umdoni, uMhlathuze and Witzenberg.

For all other areas, these are the minimum wages:

Contract cleaning workers

These are the minimum hourly rates for contract cleaning workers:

Learnerships

The new allowances for learnerships are the following:

In a note, the employment law service Labourwise reminded employers that the national minimum wage excludes allowances that are paid to enable employees to work (such as transport and equipment), or payment in kind (such as board or accommodation), as well as bonuses, tips or food.

“So, for example, one cannot argue that you pay an employee less than the minimum wage because you contribute to their uniform or provide them with meals.”

Main Image: SABC News

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