More workers employed over December

The BTPI shows take-home pay reached R72.2 billion in December – the highest on record.

The latest salary data from the BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index (BTPI) shows that more part-time and temporary workers were employed over December 2021 compared to December 2020.

Shergeran Naidoo, BankservAfrica’s head of stakeholder engagements, says, “According to the BTPI salary data for December, about two million more salary payments were made than last year. The 13 percent growth in the number of payments made to casual workers for the second consecutive month and the five percent year-on-year increase in weekly payments show that workers in these categories contributed to the higher salary numbers.”

Another contributor may have been the part-time election officials who oversaw the municipal elections in November 2021 – and were compensated in December 2021.

The municipal election payments and the usual year-end bonus pay-outs saw the total take-home pay paid via BankservAfrica reach an astronomical R72.2 billion in December – the highest nominal number in the history of the take-home pay that BankservAfrica has recorded.

December recorded the highest number of people paid salaries over R100,000. For the first time in the BTPI, more than 27,700 individuals were paid more than R100,000, up 16.6 percent on the previous year – another record.

The more than R100,000 total amount paid was R7.3 billion, which was also the highest on record.

The high numbers in the run-up to December show that some of these payments were for the usual top-end bonuses in December, while some were made to new pensioners. Some of these may have also been payouts to those retrenched from large companies in sectors that were hit the hardest by Covid-19.

However, the 5.9 percent inflation increase in December, which is the highest in nearly five years, has led to a 5.2 percent annual decline in the average real take-home pay.

In real terms, the total take-home pay paid to employees was still below the December 2017 and 2018 levels but above December 2019 and 6.2 percent above December 2020.
December 2021 was a more normal December with casual payments increasing closer to the numbers seen in December 2018.

Mike Schüssler, chief economist at economists.co.za, says, “During the Covid-19 crisis, the decline in the number of casual workers mirrored the double-digit decline in the number of weekly wages paid. Weekly and casual payments showed the worst declines for far longer – the estimated daily payments weakened by double digits on 14 occasions in the last 25 months."

He added, “We hope that the next months will confirm the return of lower-paid employees who were challenged the most during the pandemic. If that trend holds, it will indicate that the employment impact from the pandemic is receding.”

According to the BankservAfrica Private Pensions Index (BPPI), banked private pensions increases have remained above inflation for 18 consecutive months.

For seven consecutive months, the total private pensions paid have remained above R6 billion. The total amount paid was still one percent above the rate of inflation.