Work and Wages

Minimum Wage

In accordance with the Basic Condition of Employment Act (BCEA), the Minister of Labour may set minimum terms and conditions of employment including minimum wages. There is no single national minimum wage in South Africa. Minimum wages are set at the sectoral level and area level. Minimum wages are set for vulnerable sectors; the sectors, which have low union density or where market wages are quite low. Sectoral determination for setting minimum wages is done in consultation with the Employment Conditions Commission.

Minimum wage is set for the following sectors: domestic work, contract cleaning, private security, wholesale & retail, farm work, forestry, taxi, learnership, hospitality, civil engineering and the work of children in the performance of advertising, artistic and cultural activities. The Employment Conditions Commission advises the Minister of Labour on various issues including sectoral determinations regarding minimum wages. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act requires that while advising the Minister on publication of a sectoral determination, the Commission must consider in respect of the sector and area concerned the ability of the employer to carry on their business successfully; the operation of small, medium or micro enterprises and new enterprises; the cost of living; the alleviation of poverty; conditions of employment; wage differentials and inequality; the likely impact of any proposed condition of employment on current employment or the creation of employment; the possible impact of any proposed conditions of employment on the health, safety or welfare of workers; and any other relevant factor.

After considering the report and recommendations of the Commission, the Minister may make a sectoral determination for one or more sector/s and area/s and provide for the adjustment of remuneration by way of minimum remuneration or minimum increases.

Source: § 54-55 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 1997 (last amended in 2014)

Current minimum wage rates can be found in the Minimum Wage section.

Regular Pay

In accordance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, wage means the amount of money paid or payable to a worker in respect of ordinary hours of work or, if they are shorter, the hours a worker ordinarily works in a day or week.

The BCEA regulates the payment of wages to all classes of workers. According to this Act, wages can be calculated on an hourly, daily, weekly or monthly basis. An employer is under obligation to pay the worker wages in South African currency (Rand) within seven (7) days after the completion of the wage period for which wages are payable.

Employers are obliged to pay the worker his/her wages during the working hours or within 15 minutes of the commencement or conclusion of those hours at the place of work on an agreed pay day in a sealed envelope, if payment is made in cash (legal tender) or through cheque. Wages may be deposited directly into an account designated by the worker in writing. An employer must not compel a worker to purchase any goods, products or services from the employer or from any business or person nominated by the employer.

A worker's wage is calculated by reference to the number of hours the employee ordinarily works. In order to calculate the wage rate by time, it must be known that (in order to be entitled to full wage) a worker is required to work 45 hours a week and nine hours a day (seven and a half hours for those working 6 days a week). An employee's monthly remuneration is four and one-third times the employee's weekly wage.

Generally, an employer is not allowed to deduct wages unless required or permitted under a written law, collective agreement, court order or arbitration award. Deductions may also be made if a worker agrees in writing to the deduction in respect of a debt or to reimburse the employer for loss or damage caused by the worker.

An employer should provide pay slips to all workers at the workplace during working hours or within 15 minutes of the commencement or conclusion of those hours. It must include the following information:
* The employer’s name and address
* The worker’s name and occupation
* The period for which the payment is made
* The worker’s remuneration in money
* The amount and purpose of any deduction made from the remuneration
* The actual amount paid to the worker.

Relevant to the calculation of that worker’s remuneration, the slip must also contain:
* Information about the worker’s rate of remuneration and overtime rate
* The number of ordinary and overtime hours worked by the worker during the period for which the payment is made
* The number of hours worked by the worker on a Sunday or public holiday during that period
* An agreement to average working time has been concluded, the total number of ordinary and overtime hours worked by the worker in the period of averaging.

Source: § 1 & 32-35 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act 1997 (last amended in 2014)(last amended in 2014)

Regulations on Work and Wages

  • Basic Conditions of Employment Act, 1997 (amended in 2002 & 2013)