Take-home pay in South Africa falls due to COVID-19 lockdown

The average take-home pay in South Africa has declined compared with the same period last year as businesses struggle to cope under national lockdown rules.

This is according to the latest BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index (BTPI), which found that the real average salary fell by 2.4% in the past month.

“The real average and overall salary paid contracted in January 2021 after coming under strain from the pandemic and level 3 lockdown, according to the latest BankservAfrica Take-home Pay Index (BTPI),” said BankservAfrica Head of Stakeholder Engagements Shergeran Naidoo.

“This is a sure sign of the pressure that average salaries faced under this period.”

The data does, however, predict a return to normal in future as average salaries make a comeback in real terms and COVID-19 vaccinations are made available.

There has also been a 3.2% decline in banked take-home pay, which could be attributed to the delay in people returning to work.

BankservAfrica added that with the average real take-home pay declining, it will be interesting to see if there will be tax relief for employed South Africans when the National Budget Speech is tabled tomorrow.

“This is as businesses and households come under even more financial pressure from the planned 16% hike in electricity costs in April,” it added.

Average salaries over the past year

The real average salary in South Africa for January 2021 was R13,030.

According to the BTPI, the average salary figures are beginning to normalise, as has been expected a few months back.

This return to normal for salaries should continue with a few affected industries expected to experience some shocks in the coming months.

BankservAfrica noted that the overall take-home numbers suggest January will be a weak consumer spending month when compared to a year ago.

Despite this, the overall total pensions paid increased by 2.2% year-on-year, after inflation.

Combined with the overall decline in the number of pensioners, this led to the highest average real private pension increase ever experienced via the BankservAfrica payments system.

The table below shows the take-home pay data for every month over the past year.

Take home pay Jan 2021

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Take-home pay in South Africa falls due to COVID-19 lockdown