The new NMW determination has increased from R25,42 to R27,58 per hour. Image: Pixabay

SA’s minimum wage: What you can earn in other countries

Last week Employment and Labour Minister T.W. Nxesi announced a new National Minimum Wage (NMW) for South African workers.


The new NMW determination has increased from R25,42 to R27,58 per hour. Image: Pixabay

The new National Minimum Wage (NMW) determination has increased from R25,42 to R27,58 for each ordinary hour worked and will come into effect on 1 March 2024.

When calculated at eight hours per day, the average monthly wage for domestic workers, for example, would increase from around R4100 to roughly R4400.

A country’s NMW is calculated by taking various factors into account, such as inflation, the cost of living and the need to retain the value of the minimum wage.

So, how does South Africa’s NMW square up to that of its global peers?

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Minimum wage in Nigeria

Nigeria’s current minimum wage of NGN 30 000 per month (R454)** has been in effect since 2019.

Since 1 September 2023, the Federal Government of Nigeria added an additional NGN 35 000 wage award for six months as a temporary subsidy, says MyWage. This means the total amount paid to workers (until 29 February 2024) is NGN 65 000 (R947) per month.

According to reports, the NMW in Nigeria is up for review, with the Federal Government stating that a new minimum wage regime would come into effect on 1 April 2024.

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According to the India Briefing, India boasts the most competitive labour costs in Asia. It has a NMW of approximately INR 178 (R41) per day, which translates to around INR 5340 (R1217) per month.

This is the baseline wage in India and it is important to note that there are regional disparities.


Brazil implemented a new NMW starting from 1 January 2024, of BRL 1412 (R5381) per month, reports the Brazilian government’s national news agency.

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This represents a 6.97% increase compared to the previous wage that was in effect from May to December 2023.

United States

CBS News says the federal wage in the USA hasn’t budged since 2009, remaining at USD 7.25 (R137.25) an hour. This is in spite of inflation jumping more than 40% since then.

However, the NMW varies per state, and as of 1 January, the states of California, New York and Washington boosted the baseline pay to at least $16 (R303) an hour.

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United Kingdom

Britain’s new NMW, set to come into force in April 2024, is GBP 11.44 (R273) per hour. According to the national government website, the UK government has accepted the recommendations of the Low Pay Commission in full.

South Africa’s new hourly wage determination includes the vulnerable sectors of farm workers and domestic workers – who, since 2022, have been aligned with the NMW rates.

However, workers employed on an expanded public works programme are entitled to a minimum wage of R15.16 per hour, up from R13.97.

**Exchange rates as of 5 February 2024