South Africa’s real take-home pay increased by just 0.7 percent in March, with the average salary reaching R15 092 in nominal terms and R12 749 in real terms. Photo: Pixabay
South Africa’s real take-home pay increased by just 0.7 percent in March, with the average salary reaching R15 092 in nominal terms and R12 749 in real terms. Photo: Pixabay

Take-home pay increases return to pre-Covid trend

By Siphelele Dludla Time of article published Apr 29, 2021

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JOHANNESBURG - SOUTH Africa’s real take-home pay increased by just 0.7 percent in March, with the average salary reaching R15 092 in nominal terms and R12 749 in real terms.

The BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index (BTPI) for March released yesterday showed that average salaries had returned to pre-Covid trend.

BankServAfrica said the number of employees in the broader payment system of formal employers from larger companies has recovered fast as the economy has re-opened.

It said the growth in March 2021 came off the low base in March 2020 when the country was placed under hard lockdown.

When the hard lockdown began in March 2020, the BTPI reported a drop in the number of payments made to daily and weekly workers.

But now the year-on-year change came in at under 1 percent, which marks the turning point for employment numbers improving from the depth of the pandemic.

Shergeran Naidoo, BankservAfrica’s head of stakeholder engagements, said the number of weekly and monthly take-home payments were beginning to take-off with slight increases.

“These figures show a return to the pre-Covid trend as the number of employees in the broader payment system of formal employers from larger companies is in a better state after the economy’s reopening.”

Data from Statistics SA indicates that government employment increased in the third and fourth quarters of 2020.

Based on this, BankservAfrica assumed that the private sector has only recovered by about 95 percent since its data has a larger share of government employees in its take-home data.

It said the 95 percent recovery of private sector jobs for larger private sector jobs was of course very good news, but smaller firms and the informal sector had a long way to go for recovery.

Chief economist at economists.co.za Mike Schüssler said the BTPI was gradually returning to normal.

Schüssler said the current improvements were a “recovery” as the actual employment numbers were still slightly below the BTPI’s average.

“In March 2021, we are seeing a small increase in the number of weekly and monthly take-home payments while daily payments continue on a declining trend,” Schüssler said.

“All in all, it is good news that 95 percent of private sector jobs in larger firms have recovered.

“But, with daily and weekly payments still far below normal, one can assume that smaller firms and the informal sector have a long way to go for recovery.”

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