Employment and Labour Minister, Thulas Nxesi announced that the National Minimum Wage (NMW) for each ordinary hour worked will increase from R25.42 to R27.58. The National Minimum Wage Act was first proclaimed in 2018, setting a historic precedent in the protection of low-earning (vulnerable) workers in South Africa and providing a platform for reducing inequality and huge disparities in income in the national labour market.

The NMW was first implemented on 1 January 2019 at a level of R20 per hour. The increase was based on the recommendation of the NMW Commission, which considered various factors such as inflation, the cost of living, wage levels, productivity and the like. The Minister adopted the view of eight of the 12 Commissioners, who proposed an increase of CPI plus 3 percent, based on the CPI of 5.5 percent in November 2023.

Cosatu said the increase would provide relief to more than six million workers earning within the national minimum wage range.

Workers in the agricultural, domestic, construction, retail, hospitality, transport, security and cleaning sectors would benefit the most according to the Trade Union Federation.

In terms of the law, it is an unfair labour practice for an employer to unilaterally alter hours of work or other conditions of employment in implementing the NMW. With effect from 1 March 2024, employers shall pay contract cleaning workers at least the minimum hourly wage as detailed in the schedule below:

Employment law service, Labourwise, reminds employers that the National Minimum Wage excludes allowances that are paid to enable employees to work (such as transport and equipment), or payment in kind (such as board or accommodation), as well as bonuses, tips or food.

For more information on the NMW, visit: www.ncca.co.za