Tue, Jun 28, 2022

Low wage jobs pay too little to save and only just enough to survive. Caught in a trap, workers are too broke to quit. Combined with low self esteem, they subject themselves to bad employment conditions thereby entrenching poverty and limited options.


If your job takes all your time and pays too little for you to build and maintain financial security, chances are you’re #jobcaptured and part of the #workingpoor . 

High school dropouts are most vulnerable to poverty

There’s a connection between low wages and levels of education. If you find yourself in low wage jobs, improve your skill sets. Low education levels also limit opportunities to start and drive your own business.

The golden rule is to inspire children who believe in the value of education, a positive learning culture and perseverance.

Dropped out of high school? Find an opportunity to gain an NQF Level 4 qualification. 

If you’re employed, speak to HR as your employer can benefit from investing in your education. If you’re unemployed,  find learnerships and apprenticeships at NQF Levels 2, 3 or 4.


Your job can only solve your poverty problem if you believe that you have a lot to offer an employer. When interviewing for a job, place yourself on an equal footing with the interviewer.

What we believe we are capable and deserving of, can impact our career choices and opportunities. Don’t sell yourself low.


If your job pays too little to build financial security and prevents you from looking around for better opportunities, you’re in a poverty trap. Improve your negotiation skills for your next interview.

Research reveals that many working families are unable to work themselves out of poverty.

While finding employment is generally regarded as the primary means of escaping poverty, the reality is a set of circumstances where a significant proportion of working families are unable to ‘work themselves out’ of poverty.  

The extent of income sharing in South Africa, coupled with a proliferation of low‐wage work, may leave even those who find employment unable to escape poverty at the household level. 

Lack of comprehensive cover for the working population

While South African employees are entitled to basic leave and overtime pay, they are not required by law to receive health insurance or retirement benefits.

In fact, in 2015 only 47% of the employed said that their employer contributed to a pension scheme on their behalf while just 30% were entitled to health insurance (which is known as‘medical aid’ in South Africa) (Stats SA, 2015b).

Workers are, however, protected under the contributory Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and may claim benefits during absence from the workplace if they have contributed for a sufficient period of time.

However, these benefits do not amount to a full monthly salary and may only be claimed for up to 8 months(DoL, 2014).   

Affirmative action policies have been implemented in an attempt to confront historical disadvantage, and to provide Black people with economic opportunities to control and manage South African businesses. Despite this, previously disadvantaged individuals remain severely underrepresented in the top tiers of management. (Jain et al., 2012)


Read the complete research at the link below.

Lilenstein, K., Woolard, I., Leibbrandt, M. (2016). In-Work Poverty in South Africa: The Impact of Income Sharing in the Presence of High Unemployment. A Southern Africa Labour and Development Research Unit Working Paper Number 193. Cape Town: SALDRU, University of Cape Town: p 2, 4

Send your employment contracts and help us document unfair practices.  Your identity is protected.  friend@payslipbansa.co.za

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