Here’s by how much the minimum wage – also for domestic workers - looks set to increase next year
- The National Minimum Wage Commission has recommended that the minimum wage be increased by inflation plus 1.5% next year.
- It also wants the minimum wage for farmworkers to be hiked to the same level as the national minimum wage by next year.
- Domestic workers, whose minimum wage is far lower than the general minimum wage, should earn the same as other workers by 2022, the commission recommends.
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The National Minimum Wage Commission has recommended that the minimum wage be increased by inflation plus 1.5% next year.
Currently, that would mean an increase of 4.8% - which would increase the minimum hourly wage by a rand, to around R21.76
“The actual amount, however, will depend on inflation in the month in which the adjustment is effected,” the commission said in a new report, which has been gazetted for comment.
The commission says it supported an above-inflation rate of increase because the minimum wage is still below the upper-bound poverty line (of R1,268 per person per month). It also noted that inflation for low-income households is currently significantly higher than for the upper-income group, due to the relatively sharp increase in food prices (food constitutes a higher share of consumption for lower income households).
“While that decision implies that costs for some employers will increase, but that they will be offset by the broader benefits to society of more equitable workplaces and remuneration systems. The Act provides for exemptions for employers who truly cannot afford the adjustment,” the commission said.
The national minimum wage was originally set at R20 an hour in 2018, and increased to R20.76 an hour from March this year.
The minimum wages of farmworkers and domestic workers are currently R18.68 and R15.57 respectively.
But the majority of the commissioners recommended that the minimum for farmworkers – currently 10% below the general minimum wage – should be equal to the national minimum wage by next year.
The majority of the commissioners argue that the agricultural sector was not as severely affected as other sectors by the lockdown because the food value chain constituted an essential sector.
The commission also wants the minimum wage of domestic workers – currently 25% below the national minimum wage – to increase to 88% of the national minimum wage in 2021 and to 100% in 2022.
This would amount to an increase of about R450 per month for a domestic worker and about R350 per month for a farmworker over the next two years.
But the three business representatives on the Commission – a minority - did not support this proposal, saying that “no sector can absorb such increases”.
Comments about the National Minimum Wage Commission proposal for 2021 adjustment can be emailed to Unathi.Ramabulana@labour.gov.za by no later than 20 December 2020.
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