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Salaries and Learnership Stipends: The Minimum Wages Now

Salaries and Learnership Stipends. This post tables minimum rates for learnership stipends and covers salary trends across trades and occupations such as teachers and plumbers.

How Are Minimum Rates for Salaries and Learnership Stipends Calculated?

salaries and learnership stipends

Minimum Rates for Salaries and Learnership Stipends

The government establishes minimum rates for salaries and learnership stipends to ensure that we receive fair compensation for our work and learning efforts. These minimum rates help to prevent exploitation and ensure that employees and learners are provided with a minimum standard of living.

Employers who exploit minimum rates for salaries and learnership stipends are taking advantage of hardworking individuals who deserve better compensation for their efforts. It is disheartening to see such disregard for fair pay and the value of learning. The government’s establishment of minimum rates Salaries and Learnership Stipends aims to address this issue.

Department of Labour Establishes Minimum Rates for Salaries and Learnership Stipends

Salaries and Learnership Stipends Must Be Fair: But Are They?

Companies can pay more than the minimum rate for Salaries and Learnership Stipends.

Minimum learnership stipend rates are to prevent companies from profiting off the youth while paying less than a living wage.

By The Way: Employers get Funding To Pay Learnership Stipends

 Do Employers Pay as Little as Possible for Salaries and Learnership Stipends?

Learnerships and apprenticeships are subsidised. This facilitates unemployed participants who are unable to access traditional tertiary study. They can be absorbed into the workforce for training and gain work-based experience i.e. they learn and earn at the same time.

The National Minimum Wage for Workers: R25,42

The Department of Employment and Labour has published the new National Minimum Wage for South Africa.

The minimum wage of R23,19 per hour will increase to R25,42 per hour (an increase of approximately 9,6%), with effect 1 March 2023. The new minimum also outlines the minimum wage for workers in certain sectors.

  • Farm workers will earn a minimum in line with the rate, as will domestic workers. However, workers employed in expanded public works programmes will be entitled to a lower rate at R13.97 per hour.
  • The National Minimum Wage excludes allowances that are paid to enable employees to work (such as transport and equipment), or payment in kind (such as board or accommodation), as well as bonuses, tips, or food. An employer cannot argue to pay an employee less than the minimum wage because they contribute to uniforms or provide meals.
  • The National Minimum Wage is the lowest level of pay allowed. The national minimum wage applies to all workers i.e., any person who works for another person and who receives or is entitled to receive any payment for that work.
wage floor why some jobs pay more

Minimum Salaries and Learnership Stipends

Employers have become more exploitative and will pay as little as possible for learnership stipends.

Learner Pay is a Learnership Stipend

The legislation sets minimum levels. Employers determine the final amount or maximum. They can pay you as MUCH as they choose or can afford. It should also be noted that just as salaries range from employer to employer and from sector to sector – so do stipends.

Some learners earn the bare minimum because they accepted it and couldn’t or didn’t negotiate a rate based on their real expenses. These learners either have to leave the programme or accept what they signed up for and be professional about it.

There are learners who earn +R1o ooo p.m on a learnership while most only earn R1 500.

How Much Are Learnership Sipends?

Learnership stipends are based on the qualification NQF level.

Learnership Stipends According to NQF LevelWeekly
NQF Level 1 to 2 – Credits earned 121-240 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR3,312.71ZAR382.55
NQF Level 3 – Credits earned 1-120 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR1,656.44ZAR765.06
NQF Level 3 – Credits earned 121-240 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR3,119.72ZAR382.55
NQF Level 3 – Credits earned 241-360 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR4,674.24ZAR720.49
NQF Level 4 – Credits earned 1-120 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR1,656.44ZAR1,079.50
NQF Level 4 – Credits earned 121-240 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR3,313.01ZAR382.55
NQF Level 4 – Credits earned 241-360 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR4,674.24ZAR765.13
NQF Level 4 – Credits earned 241-360Per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR4,674.24ZAR1,079.50
NQF Level 4 – Credits earned 361-480Per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR7,453.71ZAR1,721.41
NQF Level 4 – Credits earned 361-480 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR7,453.71ZAR382.55
NQF Level 5 to 8 – Credits earned 241-360 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR5,369.46ZAR828.80
NQF Level 5 to 8 – Credits earned 361-480 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR7,564.34ZAR1,240.06
NQF Level 5 to 8 – Credits earned 481-600 per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR9,662.22ZAR1,746.96
NQF Level 5 to 8 – Credits earned 481-600Per month, as calculated by Mywage.co.za ZAR9,662.22ZAR2,231.46
Learnership Stipends

Learnership Stipends for Learners with Disabilities

It’s fantastic to point out that there are special provisions for learners with disabilities. Employers who take on disabled candidates must accommodate them so that all needs are catered to. So if someone is in a wheelchair, the company must ensure they have full access to amenities and are comfortable in the workplace areas they must operate in.

Learners receive additional allowances for assistance such as a transport as they may not be able to use conventional public transport. In return, the employer receives more tax rebates. It may sound unfair to some, but if you think about how hard it is for able-bodied people to succeed, you won’t believe the number of challenges and dire poverty experienced by our disabled community. A post on learner complaints includes a letter template for an unhappy learner.

Employers cannot pay learners less than the amounts shown in the table, but they can pay more!

South Africa has a government-mandated minimum wage

Rules for Salaries and Learnership Stipends

No worker in South Africa can be paid less than this mandatory minimum rate of pay. The national minimum wage only exempts three categories, namely domestic workers, farm workers and expanded public works.
Employers in South Africa who fail to pay the Minimum Wage may be subject to punishment by the government of South Africa.

Wages per month are calculated as 4.33 times if a weekly wage is defined. It is calculated as 4.33 times the standard hours per week if an hourly wage is given.

learnership stipend

Learnership Stipend Amounts

Employers cannot pay learners below a specific minimum. That’s why the minimum rates for Salaries and Learnership Stipends protect workers.

View the table here: Learnership stipend rates table

  • Employers must pay learners not later than 7 days after 
    • completing a period of work; or
    • terminating their learnership.
  • Calculating Pay and Allowances
    • A learner’s pay is calculated according to the number of hours.

Click here for the latest salary review report from Career Junction.

Minimum Wage and Learnership Stipends: Job Salaries (2014)

Office Administration and Management

Office Administrator Pay

  • Business Administration Learnerships are popular programs offered by corporates in a range of sectors. Let’s take a look at a typical Office Administrator profile in South Africa.
  • The average salary for an Office Administrator is R98,633 per year. People in this job generally don’t have more than 20 years of experience and even if they do, this often doesn’t mean much and they will be offered a similar salary to someone with less experience. If you have the following skills, you could negotiate a better package for this job: Data Entry, Accounts Payable, Typing, Office Management, and Human Resources.
  • According to PayScale Human Capital, office administrators earn the most in Sandton, Richards Bay, Pretoria, and Johannesburg (in that order) and the least in Port Elizabeth. They earn the same in Cape Town and Durban.

Office Manager Salary

  • The average salary for an Office Manager is R155,832 per year. Most people move on to other jobs if they have more than 20 years of experience in this field. Experience has a moderate effect on pay for this job. The highest-paying skills associated with this job are Project Management, Bookkeeping, People Management, and Administration.
  • The highest earners are in Sandton, Johannesburg and Cape Town with Pretoria and Durban in the lower margins.

Read the latest list of critical skills.

Tips to Negotiate For Better Salaries and Learnership Stipends

Salaries and learnership stipends should always meet the minimum rates set by law. To negotiate for better salaries and stipends when the rate is not included in the advert, research the industry standards and compare with similar roles. Highlight your qualifications, skills, and experience that make you valuable to the employer. Emphasize the value you will bring to the organization and how it justifies a higher compensation.

learner pay raise

Minimum Wage and Learnership Stipend for Trades and Bus Drivers

Check our post on Apprenticeships for more on how much trades are paid.

Boilermaker Salary

  • The average rate for a Boilermaker is R80.39 per hour. The skills that increase pay for this job the most are Metal Inert Gas (MIG) Welding, Plant Maintenance, and Maintenance.
  •  Boilermakers earn the most in Rustenburg and Witbank and the least in Durban and Cape Town.

Plumber Salary

A Plumber earns an average salary of R97,851 per year. Experience has a moderate effect on pay for this job. People in this job generally don’t have more than 20 years experience.

Electrician Pay

  • An Electrician earns an average salary of R206,974 per year. Most people move on to other jobs if they have more than 20 years of experience in this field. Experience has a moderate effect on income for this job. The skills that increase pay for this job the most are Plant Maintenance and Programmable Logic Controllers (PLC) / Automation.
  • Electricians earn the most in Witbank and Rustenburg and the least in Pretoria and Port Elizabeth.

Bus Driver Salary

The average salary for a Bus Driver is R97,085 per year. People in this job generally don’t have more than 10 years’ experience.

Salary for Tour Guide, Teachers and Television Presenters

Tour Guide Pay

A Tour Guide earns an average salary of R105,582 per year. Most people with this job move on to other positions after 20 years in this career.

Teacher Wage

A Teacher earns an average salary of R176,376 per year. The pay range starts at around R80k per year for those at entry level to R280k for those with more than 20 years of experience.

Television Presenter Salary

The average pay for a Television Presenter is R237,287 per year but it can range from R36k to R490k.

hiring youth: recruitment

Minimum Wage and Learnership Stipends: to Find Salary Reviews

  • The Career Junction Salary Survey is compiled exclusively for South African job seekers and HR/Recruitment personnel to give a true representation of salaries in South Africa. It contains up-to-date salary information as well as regional differences in remuneration using actual salary offerings on the CareerJunction website (28,000+ jobs monthly) for the latest measurable period. This means that they have created a comparison of salaries based on jobs advertised on their site.
  • Salary reports are easy to read and help you understand what different jobs pay. When you apply for a learnership, remember that you are being employed for the duration of your program in order to learn about a particular job or industry and become qualified. It is hoped that this will increase your chance of employment. A stipend is not a salary.
  • Stipends are paid to assist you. If a company has received funds to run your learnership they will be required to prove how the money was spent. If you are already an employee and your company places you on a learnership – you are not paid a stipend in addition to your salary. A stipend is a grant given to unemployed people whilst on a learnership.
  • Read salary reports each year to remain updated on trends.
  • Research pay before a job interview.

Related posts

Leonie Hall

Leonie Hall, disruptive thinker and dynamic strategist, is an expert in education, development, quality management and innovation. She has spoken at local and international conferences; and currently works as an independent consultant and content developer. Contact Leonie for a consultation.

This Post Has 52 Comments

  1. Anonymous

    Visitor Rating: 3 Stars

  2. Anele Mhlongo

    Can you please help I got in-service training at DRC sss how to apply for stipend

  3. Masande November

    For an work integrated learning in electrical engineering, how much must be a stipend?

  4. Keith

    Hi I want to find out about our stimped since June until now September we don’t get anything please help from kamhlushw A mpumalanga learnership nkomanzi

  5. Helper1918

    I do you know that you arte getting the rigth stipened the one you are suppose to be gettting.

  6. Leonie Hall

    Hi Zimasa
    You can report this to the CCMA. Let me know!

  7. Zimasa

    Hi am looking for help..am doing in-service at lusikisiki college in department of education, I started on June 2018 don’t get stipend that,’s why i want to be assisted.I have to pay rent, buy food and am dependent to my mother who is earning social grant for 4 siblings and no one is working at home .

  8. Leonie Hall

    It can vary between sectors if a sectoral agreement, better than these rates, exists.

  9. KHAYELIHLE

    How much exactly must awe receive as a stipend per month if we have level 5?

  10. Siyabonga

    Dear sir /madam

    We have a problem here in durban mayville cato manor. Mtl don’t pay our stipend but we started this programme in couple months back it was 14 august but still now they’re fail to pay and buy tools

  11. jeff

    I am also an artisan at public hospital and I also feel exploited by our government about less wages for artisans and I also think to resign and resort myself to private company. when is our government will realise they need us?

  12. minaar mangwale

    hi my name is minaar mangwale and I am doing a diesel mechanic apprenticeshi with merseta, my problem is that they have placed me at Toyota and I’m working with small vehicle’s whilst I were supposed to be working with trucks or mining equipments, this thing is eating me from the inside bcoz I’m going to have experience on small vehicle and my qualification is for the big vehicles or earth moving equipments…..pls help

  13. Leonie Hall

    No problem! 🙂 Armscor will have an HR person dealing with your issues, find out who that person is and approach them directly. If they can’t assist you (but they should) then you should contact the MERSETA and lodge a complaint with them. The organisation who placed you on this programme is responsible for ensuring that you have the opportunity to qualify (Armscor). With regards to late results, check out this article http://7sundays.co.za/KeepClimbing/2017/04/13/seeing-red-do-you-trust-your-tvet-college-or-would-you-rather-be-in-russia-because/ for the DHET hotline number, click here http://7sundays.co.za/KeepClimbing/2017/04/13/fake-colleges-fake-qualifications-fools-paradise/ lodge a complaint with them. It’s not right that you have no results or clear advice on how to proceed – the DHET should know about your problem.
    Let me know! Leonie

  14. Thembakazi

    Im so sorry I forgot to name the company,the company is Armscor.

  15. Thembakazi

    Good day my name is Thembakazi,i am doing an Mechanica Engineering apprenticeship and i signed a one year contract wich end by 31March,the problem is that I never went to the practical train and workplace experience,they asked me to register in a local FET College for theorotical studies and I did so I wrote my exam for N6 last year november and I still did not get my results for that level now they said I cant go to the training as scheduled without the results.Its the department who have not released some of the results not my fault now my question is that was this an apprenticeship or they just sent me to the college?because I wont have anything that state that i did an apprenticeship and in my understanding when you are an apprentice you should do practical training and do trade test but it seems as if this company wont do that,please help me on what to do.

  16. Leonie Hall

    Hi Katlego
    The government only sets stipend minimums for programmes such as learnerships and apprenticeships. The amount to be paid must not go below the minimum wage but the maximum is for the discretion of the training provider. Your contract should stipulate payment amounts and you are legally entitled to full disclosure from the company as to how much you are paid on a monthly basis.

  17. Leonie Hall

    Hi Thomas
    the SETA provides funds to the provider but the provider determines how much you will be paid. Providers must not pay less than the Department of Labour minimal requirements as per Sectoral Determination 5: Learnerships. An attendance register is a legal document that can be used in legal proceedings. If you are absent you cannot be marked present as this would be an act of Fraud – think about it. How can you be marked present if you weren’t there? the facilitator could lose their job!!! The onus is on you to provide proof of why you were absent so that the absenteeism cannot be held against you.

  18. thomas manyama

    I’m thomas manyama I’m. A aprientice of a plumbing at modjadji college at bolobedu my problem is that I went to knew how much is ceta pays us. Coz our course is three year. Second is that right, is that right for a facilitat to mark you absent, but you tld him that there is a funeral at home? Pls I need help

  19. katlego

    we have problem at Royal bafokeng institute with our stipend it was supposed to be R1000.00 but their give us R655.00.we need to know what is the exact amount we supposed to get. we did not sign any contract. we get paid late.our problem is that we don’t know whether the stipend we get is R1000.00 or R1500.00

  20. Ulrich

    Hi Leonie Hall

    I am doing my in-service training I started working in November 2016 and I haven’t signed any contract regarding my traineeship.

    Other trainees signed, when I request my contract they keep telling me they will call me back or they will send it I don’t have to go to them, the contract is signed at co-operative education department at the university I went to.

    It has been 4 months without receiving any stipend now.

  21. Thabo

    hi Leonie Hall
    for a full week worked we are promised R600 weekly stipend.
    and for that week we worked only one day which supposed to have amounted to R120 but after deductions it was R70.

  22. Leonie Hall

    Hi Thabo
    I would need to know what the payment is before deductions. The legislation lays down minimum rates, but if you are paid higher than the minimum and deductions are made but you are still above the minimum – I doubt you can do anything about it even if it’s annoying. Let me know what the payment is before deductions and I’ll try to advise you better.
    Cheers! Leo

  23. Thabo

    hi, we recently got a learnership in Robertville, a gumboot making company, our issue here is that our stipend is being deducted for,; provident fund, uif, agency fee(which we don’t know about) council levy and NBC sick fund, n we we’re not told of the deductions before we commenced,
    and the deductions amounted to 33% of the gross wage since they paid us for one day, and on our payslips for job title instead of it stating learner it stated general worker, when we asked they said is the 1st time the company ran a learnership and they have to update the system.

    so what must we do mam please help.

  24. abram

    allow men,its Abram m currently in an apprentice from department,idit finish with 6 month institutional training,now m doing my practicals,what iwant to know is,is it fair for me to still get 1500..which I started on?phela iam on phase 4 now.
    how much an apprentice suppsd to get?

  25. Leonie Hall

    Hey Notokoza
    Cool man! I’ll drop you a mail.
    Really want to know what happened!

  26. Sabelo Zama

    A welder apprentice is entitled to receive how much stipend per month?

  27. Ntokozo

    I thankful for your help and i do jst like you explained to me, i would like to get back to you about what happened in this case,so would you please send me your office number that i can get back to please madam that’s if you don’t mind i thank you once again.

  28. Leonie Hall

    Congratulations Ntokozo! I suggest you contact TETA – they are the Transport SETA and have discretionary grants to assist people who are acquiring job based training. Contact the HR person you have been dealing with at Dormac and explain that you have received this advice. Let the company know that you are deeply passionate about this opportunity and ask if they would support your request for SETA assistance as this is your only hope. (say that to them so that you get them on your side.)
    Tell the HR manager that you want to request that the SETA gives you a relocation allowance. You will need proof to show the SETA that you have been accepted. If Dormac registers your apprenticeship with the SETA and SARS – they would get BEE points and be legible for tax rebates.
    Let me know ok! You can find TETA contacts here http://7sundays.co.za/KeepClimbing/2012/11/09/seta-contacts-find-out-now-about-learnerships-for-2013/
    Cheers! Leo

  29. ntokozo

    Hi, I am Ntokozo Shabalala from Newcastle, the reason why I write to you is that I need an advice because I have been accepted to do my apprenticeship in Dormac company so, they told me they wont offer me accommodation so, I need an advice on that case about what I should do as I am not resident of Durban so, should as company give me money for accommodation in my stipend as the wont give me one ? so would you please help me on what I should do on this case please.

  30. Leonie Hall

    Hi Johannes! Salaries can be negotiated. If you accepted the salary then you have to honour your contract. If you’re unhappy, consider looking for a job elsewhere or working independently. Lots people are exploited every day, you must take charge of your life and keep climbing.

  31. Johannes

    I am a artisan gunsmith on level 5 salary R 9000 before deduction so l think l was supposse to start on level 7 which is R 240 000 per annum.

  32. Leonie Hall

    So sorry to hear about your frustrations please follow my advice.

  33. lethinhlanhla Eddie

    hi i forgot to mention that sometimes we dont get a full stipend and if ever you are absent they deduct the stipend,does it happen that a stipend is being deducted as it is not a salary?my academy is Artisan development academy in berea road durban,and if you need PPE”S they give us cheap chinese material i am very worried about this academy because the make our lives miserable please help!

  34. Elicia

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  35. sepuru Willem maphoto

    my name is sepuru Willem maphoto I am looking for apprenticeships as I am doing N4 in engineering my cellphone number is 0722565369/0798127153

  36. Samantha

    useful stuff!

  37. kontes

    Thanks so much for your post. I love this site.

  38. Makinta Bonolo

    hie we hv a problem at brits, there’s a project that started in august at letlhabile, we’ve been attending an not yet received a cent from them, we dnt even understand what is really happening there we would appreciate ur help IEB is involved there an hernic mine is also part of it as we hear we on the

  39. Ahmad

    Hi my name we as a student we have a problem when it come to our stipend we don’t get it on time some time we don’t even get it . Like now we have never received a money for 3 months we always getting stories so can we get help

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