Skip to content

South Africa: Get ready for an increased annual earnings threshold

9 March 2024
– 2 Minute Read

DOWNLOAD ARTICLE

Overview

  • With effect from 1 April 2024, the earnings threshold determined by the Minister of Employment and Labour in accordance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) will be increased to ZAR 254 371.67 per annum (ZAR 21 197.64 per month). This represents an increase of approximately 5.5% from the previous earnings threshold of ZAR 241 110.59, which has been in effect since 1 March 2023.
  • The annual earnings threshold determines the application of certain provisions of the BCEA, the Labour Relations Act (LRA), and the Employment Equity Act (EEA).

With effect from 1 April 2024, the earnings threshold determined by the Minister of Employment and Labour in accordance with the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (BCEA) will be increased to ZAR 254 371.67 per annum (ZAR 21 197.64 per month). This represents an increase of approximately 5.5% from the previous earnings threshold of ZAR 241 110.59, which has been in effect since 1 March 2023.

‘Earnings’, in this context, means an employee’s regular annual remuneration before the deduction of any income tax, employee benefit scheme contributions and similar payments, but excludes benefit contributions made by employers, payments of allowances such as transportation and food, achievement awards and payments for overtime worked.

The annual earnings threshold determines the application of certain provisions of the BCEA, the Labour Relations Act (LRA), and the Employment Equity Act (EEA).

In terms of the BCEA, employees who earn below the earnings threshold are subject to protection under the provisions which regulate, amongst other things, working hours, overtime, pay for work on Sundays and public holidays, averaging of working hours and compressed working weeks, meal intervals and rest periods.

The LRA extends protection to employees earning below the earnings threshold who are engaged in atypical forms of employment (i.e. fixed term or part time employees and employees provided to clients by a temporary employment service, commonly referred to as a ‘labour broker’). Importantly:

  • In the absence of a justifiable reason for fixing the term of the contract, employees earning below the earnings threshold and engaged on fixed term contracts of employment may be deemed to be employed indefinitely; and
  • Employees engaged by a labour broker and assigned to work for a client will be deemed to be employees of the client for purposes of the LRA if they earn below the earnings threshold and are not performing a ‘temporary service’ (e.g. a period not exceeding three months or substituting for an employee of the client who is temporarily absent).

In terms of the EEA, employees earning equal to or below the earnings threshold may elect to refer an unfair discrimination dispute to the CCMA for arbitration (whereas employees earning above the earnings threshold are required to refer such dispute to the Labour Court for adjudication, unless the dispute relates to sexual harassment).

Employers are encouraged to carefully consider their current workforces and engagements with labour brokers (if any), with reference to employees’ earnings, to ensure compliance with these provisions.