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Minimum wages saw their first increase , on 1 March 2020, since being introduced in 2019.

The rate for the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for each ordinary hour worked is R20. 76. In terms of a notice as published in the Government Gazette and signed by Employment and Labour Minister, T.W Nxesi this rate was applicable on 01 March 2020.

  • The minimum hourly wage, and the special wages for some categories of work, were all increased by just about 3.8%, roughly in line with inflation at that moment – counting from when the wages were first introduced.
  • But unions were outraged at a previous recommendation of 5% increases, pointing out that the minimum wages introduced in 2019 were agreed in 2017, and are now much eroded.
  • For more stories go to the Business Insider South Africa homepage.

The minimum wage in South Africa was increased by roughly 3.8% from 1 March 2020 – roughly in line with annual inflation, but far below the level unions had wanted.

The new national minimum wage was set at R20.76 per hour.

That is an increase of exactly 3.8% on the previous R20, which came into effect on 1 January 2019.

As with the original minimum wage, certain categories of workers have lower minimum salaries. Because all of those wages are set to the nearest cent without fractions, the increases for those sectors range between 3.77% and 3.818%.

In December, the latest month available, annual consumer inflation was at 4%, up from the rate of 3.6% in November. Inflation expectations for 2019 are currently at around 4.5%.



Unions had sought an increase of at least 12.5% in the minimum wage this year – on the basis that it has not increased for more than two years.

Though the minimum wage was implemented in January 2019, the law that brought it into being was approved in November 2017, the R20-per-hour number was set at the time. The underlying amounts were actually agreed in March 2017, though, three years before the new increases will come into effect.

In a joint statement in January, union groups Cosatu, Fedusa, and Nactu described a recommendation of a 5% across-the-board increase by the National Minimum Wage Commission as “shocking and callous”. 

Here are the new minimum wages as from 1 March 2020.

  • For work not covered by a special determination: R20.76 per hour.
  • For domestic workers: R15.57 per hour.
  • For contract cleaning staff: between R20.83 and R22.84 per hour, depending on the geographic area.
  • For farm workers: R18.68 per hour.
  • For workers in government’s expanded public works programme: R11.42 per hour.

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