Did you heed the 8% domestic worker pay hike?

2015-12-16 06:00

IN South Africa, six percent of domestic employees make up a large amount of the employee work force, which is under regulation by the Ministry of Labour.
The use of domestic employees for households in South Africa is an imperative to some.
These employees not only clean the house and do the ironing, they often cook, look after the children and walk the dog. It remains mostly a female domain and a few formal skills are needed to get hired.

As such, from 1 December 2015, the minimum wage for domestic employees increased by eight percent which results in R2 230.70 a month. In rural areas, the rate is R1 993.82.

As pivotal as it is to many people, this service is still shown little value when it comes to wages.
Domestic employees often need to survive low wages that are not enough to cover their basic needs. Excuses by employers for this range from accusations of not properly doing the job, theft and even arguments that food and a room is provided for.

A simple but powerful tool to calculate the domestic employees’ wages is theLiving Wage Calculator byCode for South Africa, an NGO based in Cape Town. This allows for you to calculate whether you are paying your domestic employee enough each month to cover their basic needs.

Based on this, minimum wages pay for a mere 88% of one person’s household living costs. Three quarters of all domestic employees are the sole income providers in their households, often looking after three or more family members.
If so, minimum wage only covers 44% or even less of their needs. This is not enough to escape poverty.

Working full time, they are entitled to three weeks of paid leave as well as a reasonable number of days of sick leave per year. Work on Sundays or a public holiday needs to be compensated at a higher rate.

It takes only a few steps to be a responsible employer of a domestic employee.
As in any other job:

· Interview the candidate.

· Have an employment contract as stated in the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

· Be very clear about the job description and make sure all duties and timeframes are understood by the domestic employee.

· Tools to do the job need to be provided.

·If disagreements occur, raise and solve them immediately.

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