DOMESTIC workers will no longer be subjected to meagre salaries as the government has adjusted the minimum wage for domestic workers, with effect from December last year.
The announcement was made by the Department of Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant and it coincided with the signing into law of the National Minimum Wage Bill by President Cyril Ramaphosa.
According to the Department of Labour’s new rates, domestic workers working in Area A (bigger metropolitan areas) who work more than 27 ordinary hours per week, must be paid a minimum of R13,69 per hour.
Workers who work fewer than 27 hours per week, must be paid a minimum of R16,03 per hour.
This will mean that a domestic worker who works 45 hours per week will now earn a minimum of R2 669,24 a month.
Gardeners, drivers or people who look after children, the aged, sick, frail or disabled in a private household, all qualify as domestic workers.
The news of the minimum wage increase has been welcome in local circles as there are many people from around KwaDukuza and iLembe who work as domestic workers and have found life difficult as 2018 was marred with fuel and food price increases.
Zandile Dlamini of Charlottedale works as a domestic in Salt Rock. She said the minimum wage increase may bring much-needed relief as they seem to be working for transport fare only.
“I travel four days a week and often I have to rely on the train, which sometimes is unreliable in terms of time, and then I have to turn to taxis which are twice as expensive, so it’s a good thing that the government is recognising the domestic workers,” she said.
Although the rates will be classed differently in certain areas, the move by the government has been lauded as the domestic-worker sector is occupied by many breadwinners.
Sebenzile Ngcobo said that it’s about time that the government started taking their jobs seriously, even though it is still not enough but eventually it will get better.
The national minimum wage kicks in this year after being signed into law, and all employers must register their employees for the Unemployment Insurance Fund, and they are also advised to sign an employment contract with their domestic workers.