Employers and employees need to keep an eye on the annual increases in both the National Minimum Wage and the Earnings Threshold, summarised below for your convenience. Both are effective from 1 March 2023.
The National Minimum Wage increase
The National Minimum Wage (NMW) for each “ordinary hour worked” has been increased by 9.6% from R23-19 to R25-42. Workers who have concluded learnership agreements in terms of the Skills Development Act are entitled to a sliding scale of allowances.
Domestic workers were brought into line with the NMW in 2022, and assuming a work month of 21 days x 8 hours per day, R25-42 per hour equates to R4,270-56 per month. The Living Wage calculator will help you check whether or not you are actually paying your domestic worker enough to cover a household’s “minimal need” (adjust the “Assumptions” in the calculator to ensure that the figures used are up to date).
The Earnings Threshold Increase
The annual earnings threshold above which employees lose some of the protections of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act has been increased by 7.6% from R224,080-48 p.a. (R18,673-87 p.m.) to R241,110-59 p.a. (R20,092-55 p.m.).
“Earnings” (for this purpose only) means “the regular annual remuneration before deductions, i.e. income tax, pension, medical and similar payments but excluding similar payments (contributions) made by the employer in respect of the employee: Provided that subsistence and transport allowances received, achievement awards and payments for overtime worked shall not be regarded as remuneration”.
Some employees enjoy only limited BCEA protection even if they earn below the threshold – notably any “senior managerial employee” (“an employee who has the authority to hire, discipline and dismiss employees and to represent the employer internally and externally”), any “sales staff who travel to the premises of customers and who regulate their own hours of work” and any “employees who work less than 24 hours a month for an employer”. Take specific advice for details.
The threshold also impacts on some of the protections provided in the Labour Relations Act –
Employees earning less than the threshold, if contracted to a client for more than three months through a temporary employment service (“labour broker”) are deemed to be employed by the client unless they are actually performing a temporary service
Fixed-term employees earning below the threshold are deemed to be employed indefinitely after three months unless the employer has a justifiable reason for fixing the term of the contract.
Turning to the Employment Equity Act, employees earning over the threshold can only refer unfair discrimination disputes (other than disputes based on sexual harassment) to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA) with the consent of all parties. Otherwise, they must go to the Labour Court for arbitration.
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For full details of all minimum wage increases see Government Notice 3069, published on 20 February 2023 in Government Gazette no. 48094 – download it from GPW Online.
The BCEA earnings threshold increase is in Government Notice 3067, published on 20 February 2023 in Government Gazette no.48092 – download it from GPW Online.
Download the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (Act 75 of 1997), the Labour Relations Act (Act 66 of 1995) and the Employment Equity Act (Act 55 of 1998) from the University of Pretoria’s “Laws of South Africa” website – find them under “Labour Law”.
The article is a general information sheet and should not be used or relied upon as professional advice. No liability can be accepted for any errors or omissions nor for any loss or damage arising from reliance upon any information herein. Always contact your financial adviser for specific and detailed advice.