Domestic workers

Minimum wage: domestic workers will get a big increase to earn the same wages as other workers

Employment and Labor Minister Thulas Nxesi during a press briefing.

  • The National Minimum Wage Commission is proposing an increase in the national minimum wage based on inflation plus one percentage point this year.
  • At the latest inflation rate, this would increase wages to R23.10.
  • For the first time, domestic workers must earn the same national minimum wage as other workers.

The national minimum wage is expected to rise in line with inflation plus one percentage point this year, with the minimum wage for domestic workers corresponding for the first time to other workers.

According to an opinion from the Ministry of Employment and Labor, the majority of the commissioners of the National Minimum Wage Commission recommended that the national minimum wage be increased by one percentage point above inflation. A minority wanted the minimum wage to rise 1.5 percentage points above inflation.

The latest rate of the Consumer Price Index (CPI) is 5.5%, which means that at current rates, an increase of one percentage point (to 6.5%) will raise the minimum wage at R23.10.

Last year, the minimum wage was increased by 4.5% to R21.69 per hour.

All commissioners agreed that from this year domestic workers will earn the same national minimum wage as other workers.

Currently, the minimum wage for domestic workers – at R19.09 per hour – is 12% lower than the minimum wage for other workers.

This means that this year their minimum wage could be increased by more than 20%, from R19.09 to R23.10 (at current inflation levels). The minimum wage for domestic workers was increased by 23% in 2021 to bring it closer to the national minimum wage.

The Department of Employment and Labor said the commission would now start taking inputs and recommendations on minimum wage adjustments.

The process, which is part of the annual review of the national minimum wage under section 6 (2) of the National Minimum Wage Act, was introduced in January 2019, when the national minimum wage was set at R 20 per hour or R3,500 per month.

After the public consultation process, Minister of Labor and Employment Thulas Nxesi will determine the national minimum wage and the sectors it will cover.

The opinion says the national minimum wage law says a decision must prioritize a more equitable pay structure to ensure that workers do not live in poverty.

“The move implies that costs for some employers will rise, although broader societal benefits for more equitable workplaces and pay systems may offset this. The law provides exemptions for employers who really cannot. afford the adjustment, ”the notice said.

The opinion says commissioners have examined the state of the economy in light of the ongoing Covid-19 and have proposed increases to the national minimum wage based on the rate of inflation plus a percentage point.

“In 2021, the national minimum wage rose again 1.5% above headline inflation to R21.69. This translated into a 4.5% increase in the national minimum wage The process of increasing the minimum wage for farmers and domestic workers has also resulted in an increase of 16.1% of the minimum for agricultural workers and 22.6% for domestic workers, ”the notice said.

Since last year, agricultural workers have earned the same national wages as other workers.

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