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A fifth of South African employees did not receive a salary in June is shocking but many more are earning far less

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New payroll data shows almost 21% fewer salary payments were made in South Africa in June, compared to the same month last year.

“The -20.7% decline could be the result of job losses or it could be due to a temporary pause in payments, says BankservAfrica, the largest automated payments clearing house in the country, which compiles a monthly report based on salary payments that it facilitates.

The payment data may also be understating the real impact. The majority of payments on BankservAfrica’s system are from large corporates and medium-sized firms; the full impact on staff of small firms may not be reflected.

“We have seen this massive slide in salaries processed by BankservAfrica and through the National Payment System in recent months. However, the figure in June is most reflective of the heavy toll that the current Covid-19 crisis has placed on employers and employees who are faced with major financial distress under the current circumstances,” says Shergeran Naidoo, head of stakeholder engagements: BankservAfrica. 


While the lockdown regulations were substantially eased at the start of June, and almost all industries could return to full capacity, many restaurants and hotels remained paralysed, and some establishments were forced to close their doors permanently.

The survey shows that the number of payments to daily and casual workers fell by more than a third, while 17% fewer weekly salary payments were made. The number of monthly salaries fell by more than 9%.

Those who were fortunate enough to keep their jobs, saw a decline in income.

In June, the actual average take-home pay declined by -0.5% after inflation, compare to the same month last year.

After inflation, the average salary payment was R14,197 in June, from above R15,200 as recently as in August last year.

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