Minimum wage increase to benefit 900,000 domestic workers in South Africa: unions

The Congress of South Africa Trade Unions (Cosatu) supports the proposed increases to South Africa’s national minimum wage, which is expected to take effect from 1 March 2022.

The country’s largest trade federation says that the increase would benefit approximately six million workers – particularly in the farming, construction and hospitality sectors.

Notably, some 900,000 domestic workers are set to benefit from an increase should the government decide to equalise the minimum wage this year, Cosatu said.

This follows the recent proposals published by the National Minimum Wage (NMW) Commission which recommend that domestic worker salaries be increased to 100% of the National Minimum Wage.

Under the Act, the minimum wage for domestic workers was initially set at 75% of the National Minimum Wage in 2020. The Commission proposed increasing it to 88% of the national minimum wage in 2021 and 100% in 2022.

“As a result, the minimum wage for domestic workers in 2021 came to R19.09 per hour. The equalisation of the domestic sector was proposed in 2020 by the commission; wherein there was a minority report proposing a phased-in approach.

“In line with its earlier proposal, the commission recommends that the minimum wage of domestic workers be increased to the national minimum wage in 2022,” it said.

This would bring the minimum wage for domestic workers to R23 per hour – a 20% increase from R19.09 in 2021 – or approximately R3,700 a typical work month (20 days, 8 hours a day).

The number of domestic workers in the country is currently sitting at around 900,000, after dropping to around 745,000 during the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, data from Statistics South Africa shows.

This annual increase of 147,000 domestic worker jobs was more significant than almost any other segment in 2021, surpassing technicians (106,000), craft and related trades (78,000), plant and machine operators (25,000) and sales and services (20,000) occupations.


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Minimum wage increase to benefit 900,000 domestic workers in South Africa: unions