The South African mining industry has come a long way since Jan Gerrit Bantjes discovered gold on the farm Vogelstruisfontein in the Witwatersrand in 1884. In the same year, the Struben brothers stumbled on the Confidence Reef on the farm Wilgespruit, near present-day Roodepoort – and the rest, as they say, is history.

One of the more interesting factors of the mining industry is the calculation and allocation of bonus hours, which can often significantly contribute to the monthly pay of miners.

Within the local market, hours of work are governed by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, as follows: Under normal circumstances, miners can work a maximum of 45 hours plus 10 hours of overtime per week. Some mining companies calculate overtime according to normal working hours over a predetermined period. So, in a two-week period, for example, a worker may work 42 hours in the first week and 48 hours in the second week. The average over the two weeks is 45 hours worked.

However, in principle workers are restricted to five hours of overtime per week, spread out over this predetermined time period. This aims to curtail bonus hours worked in order to protect miners and ensure a safe working environment, as fatigue and time pressures can lead to an increase in reported risks. In general, mines aim for a balance between incentivising workers and maintaining a robust SHE score.

Collective bargaining agreements

Bonus calculations in the South African mining industry may also be subject to collective bargaining agreements between mining companies and labor unions. These agreements may set minimum bonus amounts or specify how bonuses will be calculated. In some cases, labor unions may negotiate bonus structures that prioritise safety or reward workers for achieving specific production targets.

Some of the most common types of bonuses given in South African mines include:

  1. Production bonuses: These are based on the amount of ore or minerals extracted from the mine during a specific period, such as a month or a quarter. Production bonuses may be calculated as a percentage of the value of the minerals extracted or based on a set rate per unit of production.
  2. Safety bonuses: These are awarded to workers who maintain a safe working environment and follow proper safety procedures. Safety bonuses may be based on a variety of factors such as the number of accidents or incidents that occur during a specific period or the percentage of workers who complete safety training.
  3. Attendance bonuses: These are awarded to workers who have good attendance records and show up to work on time. Attendance bonuses may be based on the number of days worked during a specific period or the percentage of shifts that a worker completes without being absent or late.
  4. Skill-based bonuses: These are given to workers who have developed specific skills or expertise that are valuable to the mining operation. Skill-based bonuses may be based on the level of training or education a worker has received or the ability to operate specialised machinery or equipment.

Bonus calculation software

In light of the various factors impacting the calculation of bonus payments, Mineware Consulting has developed a unique, customised single enterprise-wide reward management system, with the correct integrity and security to deliver bonus scheme outputs efficiently and accurately, to the benefit of all stakeholders.

The Mineware bonus system draws data from the survey, safety, planning, time and attendance as well as HR/payroll functions of a mine. Consolidating all this information into a single database, it grants the organisation endless opportunities from a management information systems perspective – not only per single entity but across the enterprise as a whole. The bonus calculation system can be fully customised to set up bonus schemes to benefit the mine or workplace, enabling managers to effectively incentivise the workforce.

Mineware software modules allow access to critical data and insights enabling mine managers to make informed decisions that improve efficiency, productivity and overall safety.

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