Government has raised the national minimum wage by 8.5% to R27.58 per hour, effective from March 1, 2024.
According to a government gazette this wage increase was included for domestic and farm workers.
This means, if the lowest paid worker worked eight hours a day and 20 days a week the new minimum wage would effectively take earnings to around R4,412.80 monthly.
However, workers employed on the government’s expanded public works programme (EPWP) would earn R15.16 per hour.
South Africa’s unemployment rate is 29.83 percent, according to Statista, a global research organisation.
“SA is expected to register the highest unemployment rate in Africa in 2024, with around 30 percent of the country's labour force being unemployed”.
The research organisation noted that around 52 percent of the young labour force is unemployed in SA, while the last national minimum wage was increased by 9.6 percent in March 2023, taking it to R25.42 per hour.
COULD AN INCREASE BE A BAD THING?
The youth development agency, Afrika Tikkun Services, said in August that a blanket national minimum wage may do more harm than good in South Africa, where youth unemployment levels are high and financial stress discourages businesses from creating jobs.
Such stipulations may have positive effects in developed countries, but the results may not be as good in countries with high youth unemployment rates.
Afrika Tikkun Services, which specialised in corporate transformation by connecting skilled black youths into the workplace, is, however, calling for labour and political leaders to focus on balancing minimum wage increases with their potential impacts on unemployment.