By Nico Strydom
Thousands of South African households make use of domestic workers but do not necessarily comply with the accompanying official obligations.
The Basic Conditions of Services Act regulates the rights of domestic workers. It is therefore important to have a contract in place between you and your domestic worker so that there is clarity about the expectations regarding employment.
The contract should be revised annually and must contain the following information: the full name and address of the employer, the full name and occupation of the employee(s) and a short description of his or her tasks, the place of work, date of appointment, working hours, the domestic worker’s remuneration and frequency of payment, remuneration for overtime worked, any deductions, the leave to which he or she is entitled and the period of notice that should be worked should the contract be terminated.
In terms of the National Minimum Wage Act that come into effect in January 2019, the minimum wage for domestic workers is R15 per hour. Workers in most cities and large towns who work less than 27 hours per week must receive at least R16,03 per hour. A worker who works eight hours per day for five days a week at the same employer, must therefore receive a minimum wage of R2 400 per month.
It is imperative to provide your employee with a pay-slip every month. Any person who works more hours than those agreed upon, must receive overtime payment. According to the act, normal working hours must not exceed more than 45 hours per week. Any overtime hours from Monday to Saturday must be paid against 1,5 of the normal hourly wage, while overtime on Sundays and public holidays must be paid against twice the normal hourly wage.
Any employee who works more than 27 hours per month must be registered for unemployment insurance. As employer you have to register yourself with the Department of Labour as a contributor and must pay over 2% of your employee’s salary to the Unemployment Insurance Fund each month – 1% must be paid by the employer, while the other 1% must be paid by the employee and may be deducted from the employee’s salary.
Other deductions are also allowed, but these are optional, for example, medical fund, pension or the repayment of a loan. The amount deducted may however not exceed the employee’s salary, and money may also not be deducted for any damage caused or meals provided during working hours. It is not compulsory to provide meals, but should you do so, you may not deduct it from the employee’s salary.
Full-time employees are entitled to 15 days paid leave per year. Employees are also entitled to 30 days sick leave over three years, as well as maternity leave and family responsibility leave.
If an employee has worked for you for less than six months, you may give him or her one week’s notice if you wish to dismiss him or her. Should a person have worked for you longer than six months, the notice period is four weeks. An employee may however be dismissed immediately for gross misconduct.
Department of Labour: http://www.labour.gov.za/DOL/documents/useful-documents/basic-conditions-of-employment/what-domestic-workers-and-their-employers-should-know-about-minimum-wages-and-conditions-of-employment
Help at home: https://helpathome.co.za/articles/23-domestic-worker-act-all-you-need-to-know