Employers of domestic workers have used the COVID-19 pandemic as an excuse/reason to terminate the services of their domestic worker.

 

I have had numerous employers approach me to terminate the services of their domestic worker due to COVID-19, but cannot cite this as the reason for termination as it constitutes an automatically unfair dismissal on the grounds of illness. The domestic worker could claim up to 24 months’ compensation and/or re-instatement with retrospective pay at the Labour Court, if a judgement is ruled in favour of a domestic worker.

 

Furthermore, approximately 600 000,00 employers of domestic workers are not registered with UIF, and/or are in arrears, which precludes the domestic worker from registering and claiming UIF benefits.

 

An employer of a domestic worker is not legally obligated to allow an official of the Department of Employment and Labour to enter their residence to do an inspection in regard to compliance in terms of the Sectorial Determination 7: Domestic Worker Sector.

 

Many domestic workers did not have the necessary assistance nor resources to declare labour disputes at the CCMA/Labour Court due to these fora disallowing and/or restricting them from entering said premises during the pandemic, resulting in them being unable to adhere to the time constraints in which to declare labour disputes timeously, in relation to their unfair dismissal claims.

 

 

Bernard Reisner

Cape Labour and Industrial Consultants

Gardens