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The national minimum wage increase was recently announced by the Department of Employment and Labour, and is now at R25.42 (from R23.19). This represents a 9.6% above inflation increase that many workers have welcomed in light of the poor economic conditions being faced here in South Africa, as well as across the globe. This change took effect from 1 March 2023.
The National Minimum Wage Act 9 of 2018 (NMWA) will apply to you if you earn below the earnings threshold of R241,110.59 per year. The Act will also apply to fixed-term or part-time contract workers, as well as workers provided to clients through labour brokers.
However, it’s important to check if there are any bargaining agreements in place for your specific industry, as these may have additional requirements in place. The only workers excluded from the Act are members of the National Defence Force, the National Intelligence Agency and the South African Secret Service.
National minimum wage is the law and employers need to comply, but some may still try to avoid paying employees what they are owed, despite the possible consequences. They do this by employing tactics like unilaterally reducing work hours (reducing your hours without consulting you and without your agreement, unilateral means one-sided) or structuring your pay so that benefits like accommodation, food and transport are part of your minimum wage. This is not in line with the Act. Minimum wage only includes your actual pay, and any other benefit must be an addition to your minimum wage.
If your employer is refusing to pay you the new minimum wage (also called non-compliance), then you have the option of reporting them either to your nearest Labour Centre or to the CCMA. Do not report the matter to both.
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* This is only basic legal advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 2 February 2023
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