South Africa officially adopted its new minimum wage on Tuesday (1 March 2022).
The national minimum wage is now R23.19 for each ordinary hour worked, representing an increase of 6.9% from the minimum wage set in 2021.
Unlike in previous years, no specific worker groups have been provided exceptions, with the minimum wages for domestic workers and farmworkers now also set at R23.19 for each ordinary hour worked as part of a planned equalisation. The hike represents a 21.5% increase for domestic workers.
The adjustments follow recent proposals published by the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Commission which recommend that domestic worker salaries be increased to 100% of the National Minimum Wage.
Under the Act, the minimum wage for domestic workers was initially set at 75% of the National Minimum Wage in 2020. The Commission proposed increasing it to 88% of the national minimum wage in 2021 and 100% in 2022.
Workers employed as part of the expanded public works programme are entitled to R12.75 per hour.
In terms of the law, it is an unfair labour practise for an employer to unilaterally alter hours of work or other conditions of employment in implementing the national minimum wage.
The national minimum wage is the amount payable for the ordinary hours of work and does not include payment of allowances (such as transport, tools, food or accommodation) payments in kind (board or lodging), tips, bonuses and gifts.
The increase comes at a time when South Africans facing increased costs led by a combination of local and international factors.
FNB says that poorer South Africans, including those earning minimum wage, are likely to be particularly hard hit in the coming months as more of their monthly earnings go to necessities such as electricity and transport costs.