South Africa’s New national minimum wage – domestic workers receive 21.5% increase

Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi announced the 2022 National Minimum Wage (NMW) increases on Tuesday, 8 February.

From 1 March workers will be entitled to an increase of nearly seven percent for every ordinary hour of work and domestic and farm workers are no longer excluded from the full minimum wage.

When the national minimum wage was first introduced – in 2019 – workers were entitled to R20 per hour and domestic workers’ earnings were set at 75 percent of the national rate. In a push for equalisation of wages, it was proposed that the rate would be increased to 88 percent in 2021 and 100 percent in 2022.

On Tuesday, Nxesi announced that the minimum wage has been increased from R21,69 in 2021 to R23,19 from 1 March 2022. Domestic and farm workers are entitled to the full NMW.

Workers employed on an expanded public workers programme (EPWP) are entitled to a minimum wage of R12,75 per hour (55% of the NMW).

“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,” said the department’s acting spokesperson Petunia Lessing.

The Labour minister stressed that the national minimum wage is paid for the hours worked and excluded allowances for transportation, food, tools, food or lodging and payments in kind, tips, bonuses and gifts.

COSATU spokesperson Sizwe Pamla said the increase is very important and would change the lives of over six million workers for the better.