Once the reality of an extended lockdown set in, many families realised that they still have a responsibility towards their domestic workers, gardeners, drivers, nannies and caretakers.
But as salaries are cut and incomes put on hold, everyone is feeling the financial strain.
Thanks to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF), and the government's Covid-19 economic rescue package, help is at hand.
However, it seems that many South Africans have not registered their employees with the UIF, as a study by GroundUp found.
In fact, up to 30% of domestic workers in South Africa are not registered for UIF.
This means that many domestic workers will not benefit from the financial assistance on offer, spelling disaster for those who are no longer receiving a salary.
We asked Adv. Kaiel Grobler of LAW FOR ALL for advice. In short: When is it too late to register my domestic worker for UIF?
He stressed that employees who perform part-time or full-time domestic work in the home of their employer must be registered with the UIF if they work more than 24 hours per month.
These employees include gardeners, drivers, nannies, caretakers of the elderly, sick, frail or disabled.
Every employer's responsibility
Registering a domestic worker is every employer's responsibility and must be done as soon as employment begins.
Failing to do so and contribute to the UIF is illegal and could lead to fines, imprisonment or both, Grobler warns.
Every month, the employer must contribute 1% of the domestic worker's salary to the UIF, and the domestic worker must also contribute 1%.
If a household worker is employed with more than one employer, all employers need to register the domestic worker.
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Can I do it now?
The good news is that if an employer hasn't registered their domestic worker, they can do so now, Grobler told Parent24.
They will have to send the domestic worker's salary information, that includes the months that they didn't contribute to the UIF.
The employer will be liable for a penalty and interest on the arrears, but will avoid further legal consequences for breaching the law.
Keep in mind that if an employer hasn't registered their domestic worker on time, they are not allowed to deduct any outstanding amounts from their salary.
Besides offering relief during this Covid-19 pandemic and the subsequent lockdown, the UIF provides financial assistance to domestic workers when they lose their job and become unemployed or can't work because they fall ill, become pregnant or adopt a child.
So it's well worth signing your employees up immediately.
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