This story was updated on 12 December 2018.
President Cyril Ramaphosa has signed into law the National Minimum Wage Bill, which comes into effect on 1 January 2019. Here we try to clarify what that means for nannies and domestic workers.
Parent24 spoke with Bernard Reisner from Cape Labour & Industrial Consultants who provided more insight into what the new National Minimum Wage Bill means for the domestic worker sector.
What are you paying your nanny or domestic worker? Does she live in or out? Does it include transport? Do you have a contract and are you paying UIF on her behalf? Send us your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish them anonymously. Please note that we unfortunately cannot offer legal advice.
The National Minimum Wage Act from 01 January 2019
The National Minimum Wage Act sets South Africa’s first National Minimum Wage (NMW) at R20 an hour, equivalent to R3 500 per month, dependent on the number of hours worked.
BUT this rate does not immediately apply to domestic workers (including nannies), farm workers and forestry workers.
What does this mean? Because these sectors' minimum wages are set so very low, they will be gradually increased over a period of around 2 years to match the new NMW.
From 3 to 31 December, an interim rate increase has been announced (see below).
From 1 January 2019, the NMW for domestic workers will be R15 per hour regardless of the area. The only exception is for domestic workers in Area A who work 27 ordinary hours per week or less, whose rate is R16.03 per hour. In this case, the higher rate applies till 30 November 2019.
A moral point to consider
Let's be clear: the minimum wage is the very, very bare minimum. It only covers you legally. Morally, it's dangerously low. Do the maths: who can live on such a low income? How much are her travelling costs?
According to a 2015 report by the National Minimum Wage Research Initiative in South Africa at Wits University, domestic workers remain the poorest of the working poor.
"Since the promulgation of this Act 16 years ago, the annual minimum wage increase continues to be marginal, which means that these workers will continue to eke out a living in these dire economic times," says Bernard Reisner from Cape Labour.
"These vulnerable employees do not have much to rejoice about in the forthcoming year and will continue to struggle to fight for their rights."
Not only should we, who entrust our children's care to nannies, pay them a fair living wage, but we should be adding decent benefits too, like you would expect at a job you'd apply for. Travel costs and a healthy lunches are a must.
And don't forget to draw up a contract and pay UIF for each worker (nanny, gardener, cleaner) – it's the law.
3 tot 31 December 2018:
There's a short-term increase for the minimum wages for domestic workers until the National Minimum Wage Act of R15 per hour kicks in on 1 January. This is the minimum wage for domestic workers from 03 December to 31 December 2018:
Working more than 27 up to 45 ordinary hours per week:
- AREA A (major metropolitan areas – see below)*:
Not less than R13.69 per hour, R616.03 per week and R2 669.24 per month.
- AREA B (those not mentioned in Area A):
The hourly rate is R12.47, R561.27 per week and the R2 431.97 per month.
*Scroll to the bottom to find out which area applies to you.
Working 27 ordinary hours per week or less:
- AREA A (see below)*:
Not less than R16.03 per hour, calculated in terms of the number of hours worked.
Please note: these minimum rates for part-time workers in Area A will remain the same from 03 December 2018 until 30 November 2019. This means these workers (and these workers only) will NOT be subjected to the new R15 per hour rate, but instead the higher R16.03 per hour.
- AREA B (those not mentioned in Area A):
The interim hourly rate is R14.72, R397.37 per week and the monthly rate is R1 721.81.
The above is in accordance with the Sectoral Determination 7: Domestic Worker Sector.
You can obtain a free copy of the domestic worker minimum wage schedule by emailing email@example.com.
*Area A major metropolitans include:
B: Bergrivier Local Municipality, Breederivier Local Municipality, Buffalo City Local Municipality
C: Cape Agulhas Local Municipality, Cederberg Local Municipality, City of Cape Town, City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality
D: Drakenstein Local Municipality
E: Ekurhuleni Metropolitan Municipality, Emalahleni Local Municipality, Emfuleni Local Municipality, Ethekwini Metropolitan Unicity
G: Gamagara Local Municipality, George Local Municipality
H: Hibiscus Coast Local Municipality
K: Karoo Hoogland Local Municipality, Kgatelopele Local Municipality, Khara Hais Local Municipality, Knysna Local Municipality, Kungwini Local Municipality, Kouga Local Municipality
L: Langeberg Local Municipality, Lesedi Local Municipality
M: Makana Local Municipality, Mangaung Local Municipality, Matzikama Local Municipality, Metsimaholo Local Municipality, Middelburg Local Municipality, Midvaal Local Municipality, Mngeni Local Municipality, Mogale Local Municipality, Mosselbaai Local Municipality, Msunduzi Local Municipality, Mtubatu Local Municipality
N: Nama Khoi Local Municipality, Nelson Mandela, Nokeng tsa Taemane Local Municipality
O: Oudtshoorn Local Municipality, Overstrand Local Municipality
P: Plettenbergbaai Local Municipality, Potchefstroom Local Municipality
R: Randfontein Local Municipality, Richtersveld Local Municipality
S: Saldanha Bay Local Municipality, Sol Plaatjie Local Municipality, Stellenbosch Local Municipality, Swartland Local Municipality, Swellendam Local Municipality
T: Theewaterskloof Local Municipality
U: Umdoni Local Municipality, uMhlathuze Local Municipality
W: Witzenberg Local Municipality
What do you think of the new minimum wages for nannies and domestic workers? Can anyone break the poverty cycle on these wages? Do you have a contract and are you paying UIF on your nanny's behalf? Send us your comments to firstname.lastname@example.org and we will publish them anonymously.
Please note that we unfortunately cannot offer legal advice.
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