Pay hike for domestic workers coming in 2023 – how much you could be paying

Staff Writer4 January 2023


The Department of Employment and Labour’s National Minimum Wage Commission is recommending an above-inflation hike to the NMW for 2023, which could see the rate for domestic workers jump to R25.05 an hour.

The commission announced in December 2022 that it is conducting an investigation into the NMW for 2023, and is eyeing an increase in the range of CPI+0.5% and CPI+1%.

With CPI averaging around 7% for 2022, this would put the hike around 8%.

The current national minimum announced by Employment and Labour Minister Thulas Nxesi in February 2022 was adjusted from R21.69 in 2021 to R23.19 in 2022 for each ordinary hour worked. The increase came into effect on 1 March 2022.

A hike to R25.05 would push the monthly rate to over R4,000 for a worker who works 8 hours a day, 20 days a month. This is approximately R300 more than in 2022.

Salary data from SweepSouth in August 2022 showed that the average domestic worker in South Africa takes home just R2,997 per month – significantly below even the current NMW of R3,700 a month.

New targets

On top of a hike for 2023, the commission is also looking at setting medium-term targets for the NMW.

NMW chairperson, Professor Adriaan van der Walt said that all wage-earning workers must earn enough to maintain a decent standard of living, defined as sufficient to support themselves and their families at a level that is both socially acceptable and economically viable.

“The target should ensure that the value of the national minimum wage does not decline relative to the median wage,” he said. The commission is inviting representation from the public concerning the medium-term target to be set.

Another development around the NMW is that the commission has started an investigation into the protection of Community Health Workers (CHWs) in South Africa.

According to Professor van der Walt, the terms of reference of this investigation shall be: “to investigate the wages and conditions of employment of the Community Health Workers in the health sector, with a view to establishing a sectoral determination prescribing minimum wages and conditions of employment”.

The Community Health Worker Programme (CHWP) means:

  • A programme to provide public or community services through a labour-intensive programme initiated by the government and funded by public, private or donor resources;
  • All projects and programmes accessing public funds, including those implemented by Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs) and Community-Based Organisations (CBOs), Faith Based Organisations (FBOs) and private companies; and
  • Any other programme deemed to be part of the CHWP as determined by the National Department of Health or a provincial Department of Health.

Push for more

Speaking to ENCA, union federation Cosatu said that the above-inflation hike to the NMW was welcome, but workers want an even bigger increase, with unions pushing for 10%.

“The 8% is not what Cosatu has proposed. We made a submission as Cosatu for CPI+3%, and with the engagement that has taken place, we were then able to move from 3% to 2%,” it said.

“With CPI at 7.5% at the time, this would have taken it to 9.5%. This would make a meaningful increase to the majority of the vulnerable workers – in particular the domestic workers and farm workers.”

The union said that 8% is the increase that will be supported by the public, but it said that it wouldn’t lead to any significant improvement for workers.

“With the challenges in the economy today, the improvement will be minimal,” the union said.