Some complexes say no to childminders returning to work. What does the law say?

" has been back to normal and I need to focus and my mind needs to be at work"
" has been back to normal and I need to focus and my mind needs to be at work"

In terms of the Level 4 lockdown regulations gazetted on 29 April 2020, live-in staff and staff who provide care to the sick, mentally ill, elderly, people with disabilities and children, may return to work in private households, subject to strict health care protocols and social distancing rules. 

This has however caused confusion for some, and Parent24 has received numerous messages from parent's wondering if this means that their nannies and childminders can return to work.

The short answer is yes, childminders can return to work, but domestic workers cannot. See more here: Are all nannies and domestic workers able to return to work under Level 4 lockdown?

Nonetheless, we have heard that not everyone is interpreting the regulations this way, and some housing complexes are denying childminders entry.

This parent wrote to us explaining her particular situation, but she is not alone in this. 

I am sure we are not the only family in this situation?

"I have been in such a flat spin trying to stay within the regulations and getting to the bottom of this specific rule that was set under Level 4. 

Myself and my Husband have returned to work full day under Level 4 essential worker permits. We have two children (age 6 and 10) who need to be supervised during working hours. 

We stay in a complex and they are not willing to allow my domestic worker, who is my children's guardian, to return.

Before the lockdown she watched the kids after school every day.

I have gone to the local police station and they are not willing to stamp the permit for her because they say the regulation is very unclear, so they can not disagree or agree to my situation and allow or decline it. 

This has put me in such an emotional state I have been crying, feeling frustrated over this situation, because work has been back to normal and I need to focus and my mind needs to be at work, but I can also not leave my children alone for 8 hours unsupervised. 

Unfortunately we have no family in the province, she is my only back up. I am sure we are not the only family in this situation?

I need assistance someone that can help me get past my complex board members." 

We approached Di Siena Attorneys for advice and Kyle Ball provided us with some insight and advice.

Body Corporate Rules are subject to the laws of the Republic of South Africa

All employees returning to work need to be issued with a ‘permit to perform an essential or permitted service’. The permit is attached to the regulations as annexure form 2 and can be found on the government’s website or downloaded from here.

The permit should be completed by the employer and all the relevant details must be included.

It is not necessary for the South African Police Services to approve or stamp the permit. However, the employee should ensure that he/she has a valid Identity Document with them at all times. 

Given current restrictions on printing services, providing a digital copy to your domestic worker should suffice.

Your domestic employee will also have to wear a mask at all times while travelling on public transport and observe the necessary social distancing regulations.

Residents of estates and complexes are governed by the Body Corporate Rules. However, these rules are subject to the laws of the Republic of South Africa.

We suggest that you address a letter or schedule a video conference meeting with your body corporate, explaining your situation and the difficulties you have been faced with.

Assure them that you will provide your domestic with the necessary protective equipment she will need to enter and exit the premises safely.

It might even be helpful to get your domestic worker tested for the Covid-19 virus (with your domestic worker’s consent) to ensure that your domestic worker poses no risk to your family and to the residents and security at the complex while accessing the premises. 

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