The Impact Of The New Minimum Wage In South Africa

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The minimum wage is deemed to be an important instrument in improving the lives of South Africans and lifting them out of poverty.


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The minimum wage is deemed to be an important instrument in improving the lives of South Africans and lifting them out of poverty.

The National Minimum Wage Commision (NMW) has put forward a proposal that would see the minimum wage increased to R23 per hour. They have also requested written representations, with the closing date for submissions being on 14 January 2022. 

The proposed increase would be Consumer Price Index (CPI) + 1%. This would see the current minimum wage increase from R21.69c to R23.

Currently, the minimum wage for domestic workers is R19.09c per hour which is only 88% of the national minimum wage. Should the new proposal be passed, their minimum wage will also increase to R23. This would ensure that the minimum wage for domestic workers is on par with other workers. 

As it stands 

  • Domestic workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R19.09 per hour 
  • Farmworkers are entitled to a minimum wage of R21.69 per hour 
  • Workers employed in an expanded public works programme are entitled to a minimum wage of R11.93 per hour 

The Department of Employment and Labour says they have been inundated with requests for comment on the proposed minimum wage for 2022. They have acknowledged concerns around the impact the new minimum wage could have on employment.

The Congress of South African Trade Unions (Cosatu), South Africa’s largest trade union, has welcomed the proposal and wants it to be implemented as soon as possible.

The union said, "These increases will make a positive difference in the lives of over 6 million workers currently paid at the NMW level.  It will mean a significant increase for the 892 000 domestic workers who are overwhelmingly women".

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