Minimum Wage Increases for Farm Workers in South Africa

The South African farming industry is a major contributor to the GDP of the country. The industry also provides employment for a large number of people all over the country. Over the years there have been efforts made to try to improve the plight of farmworkers. In the past, farmworkers were often exploited – given poor working conditions and living quarters as well as poor pay. 

The latter challenge is something that the ANC government is trying to turn around, through the introduction of a number of regulations. Through stricter regulations and tighter controls on the farming sector, government aims to protect employees in the industry.

South Africa is known for being one of the most unequal societies in the world. The farming industry is a perfect example of the effects of an unequal society. While farm workers usually have a take-home pay of less than R5000 a month, farm owners are known to make millions off the land. Farm workers have reported that the most frequent mode of salary negotiation is through direct negotiation with their employers.

Rising inflation and the rising cost of living are continually making it harder for ordinary South Africans to make ends meet. Farm workers, who work about 41 to 45 hours a week, often have a hard time – something that is often compounded by low wages.

In February 2016 Minister of Labour Mildred Oliphant announced minimum wage increases for farm workers in South Africa.

According to the Department of Labour: 

“Wage adjustments are morally right so as to ensure that workers’ earnings keep pace with the rising cost of living while boosting the purchasing power which benefits the economy.”

Hourly rate: R14.25

Daily rate: R128.26 for nine hours per day

Weekly rate: R641.32

Monthly rate: R2778.83

The most recent minimum wage increases for farm workers in South Africa follow extensive consultations and considerations of submissions received from employers and employees both in the farming and forestry sectors.

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