Wage hike for domestics ‘still too low’

2018-12-10 16:32

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Employers of domestic workers must pay them more after the Department of Labour increased the minimum wage last week.

Domestic workers employed for more than 27 hours a week should earn a minimum of R13,69 per hour, amounting to R2 669,24 per month, according to a notice in the government gazette.

Those who work less than 27 hours per week should be paid a minimum of R16,03 per hour, amounting to R1 875,22 a month.

This increase comes after President Cyril Ramaphosa signed off the National Minimum Wage Act last month, which prescribes the minimum wage for any worker to be R20 an hour, but domestic workers are one of the excluded sectors in this and wages follow Department of Labour regulations.

Julie Smith, of the Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice and Dignity Group, said the wage for domestic workers was still too low.

Smith added that transport costs were a huge expense for domestic workers, and that employers should consider contributing over and above wages to cover some of the transport costs.

“Most domestic workers don’t work a full month or a full week; they work a day here and there, so they won’t make that full monthly minimum wage anyway,” she said.

“The transport cost gobbles up their wage. It’s about R13 from their home to town, then another R13 to get into the suburbs where they work. So by the time they’ve returned home for the day, they’ve spent R52. Very little money actually comes home.”

Witness readers agreed, labelling the new minimum wage a mere “pittance”.

Said Helga Barnard: “With soaring food prices and transport costs, how are people supposed to survive on [this] minimum wage?

“It is impossible.”

Chris Mortimer believed truly caring employers would pay more than the minimum. “Shocking that this new minimum is considered a living wage!”

Michelle Stevens said the wage was a pittance, considering the work domestic workers do. “People spend more on booze, takeaways, entertainment and smoking,” she said.

 

Read more on:    pietermaritzburg  |  minimum wage
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