National minimum wage increases effective from March 1

The National Minimum Wage is reviewed yearly and is determined by inflation, cost of living and other factors.

The National Minimum Wage (NMW) will increase from March 1, with an increase from R21.69 to R23.19 for every ordinary hour worked.

“This announcement is in terms of Section 6 (5) of the NMW Act, No 9 of 2018, to amend the NMW contained in Schedule 1 and Schedule 2 of the National Minimum Act, published under Government Notice No. 44136,” Minister of Employment and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, said on Tuesday.

As in previous years, the adjustment provides exceptions for several worker groups.

These groups include farmworkers as they are entitled to a minimum wage of R23.19 per hour and domestic workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R23.19 per hour.

Workers employed on an expanded public works programme are entitled to a minimum wage of R12.75 per hour while workers who have concluded learnership agreements contemplated in section 17 of the Skills Development Act, 1998 (Act No 97 of 1998), are entitled to allowances contained in schedule 2.

“It is illegal and unfair labour practice for an employer to unilaterally change working hours or other employment conditions in order to implement the NMW.

“The NMW is the amount payable for ordinary hours of work and excludes payment of allowances (such as transportation, tools, food, or lodging), payments in kind (board or lodging), tips, bonuses, and gifts,” Nxesi said.

The Act of 2018 requires the NMW Commission to review the rates on an annual basis and make recommendations to the minister on any changes to the national minimum wage, while also taking into account alternative viewpoints, including those of the general public.

When determining the annual adjustment the Commission considers inflation, the cost of living, and the need to maintain the value of the minimum wage and gross domestic product.

It also considers wage levels and collective bargaining outcomes; productivity; employers’ ability to carry on their businesses successfully; the operation of small, medium, or micro-enterprises and new enterprises; and the likely impact of the recommended adjustment on employment or the creation of employment.

“Employees earning more than R224 080.48 per year are exempt from sections 9, 10, 11, 12, 14, 15, 16, and 17(2) and 18(3) of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) as of March 1, 2022.

“These sections protect vulnerable employees by regulating, among other things, working hours, overtime, and compressed schedules.

“Working time, average hours of work, meals interval, daily and weekly rest periods, pay for work on Sundays, night work, and work on public holidays,” Nxesi said.

The department has identified an error in the published BCEA gazette that incorrectly states the effective date as March 1, 2021; this error is currently being reviewed and will be corrected. The correct date of effect is March 1, 2022.

The tables for the adjustments to the Contract Cleaning, Wholesale and Retail sectors, and learnership allowances rates are available on the departmental website www.labour.gov.za. 

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