All Domestic workers have rights under the Constitution of South Africa and its labour code of practice. Cape Labour has provided you with a brief description of domestic workers rights in South Africa.

On 1 September 2002, the Sectoral Determination 7: Domestic Worker Sector became effective. The Sectoral Determination applies to the employment of all domestic workers in the Republic of South Africa and established conditions of employment and minimum wages for employees in the Domestic Worker Sector.

The definition of a “Domestic Worker” is any domestic worker or independent contractor who performs domestic work in a private household and who receives, or is entitled to receive pay and includes –

  • a gardener;
  • a person employed by a house hold as a driver of a motor vehicle; and
  • a person who takes care of children, the aged, the sick, the frail or the disabled;
  • domestic workers employed or supplied by employment services.

Every employer on whom this Sectoral Determination is binding must keep a copy of the Sectoral Determination or an official summary available in the workplace in a place where the domestic worker has access. The Sectoral Determination is binding on domestic workers who work more than 24 hours per month for an employer. However, minimum wages and annual wage increases still apply to domestic workers who work less than 24 hours per month for an employer, even though the Sectoral Determination does not apply to them.

A newly employed domestic worker is entitled to a contract of employment and to be issued with a payslip with each wage payment.

A domestic worker
• is entitled to join a Trade Union;
• is entitled to meal intervals;
• is entitled to rest periods;
• is entitled to annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave and family responsibility leave;
• is entitled to paid Public holidays;
• is entitled to paid overtime

With effect from 1 April 2003, employers of domestic workers are required to register with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). Employers are required by law to declare details to the Fund of their employees, i.e. full names, I.D. numbers, period of service as well as their remuneration.

As part of Domestic workers rights, employers are each required to contribute 1% of the domestic worker’s wage to the Fund.

Any person working for less than 24 hours per month for an employer, irrespective of how much he/ she earns, need not contribute to the Fund.

The Fund provides for Unemployment benefits, Illness benefits, Maternity benefits, Adoption benefits and Dependants’ benefits.

Domestic workers employed in private homes are still excluded from claiming compensation for injuries, diseases and death sustained in the course of their work.

There are many facets of the Sectoral Determination that employers do not comply with, for example, not paying the minimum wage or registering for UIF.

Many domestic workers are dismissed or retrenched without good cause and without being afforded the right to attend a disciplinary hearing. They have recourse in the CCMA to claim reinstatement and/ or compensation up to 12 month’s salary if the termination of their services is proved to be unfair.

The latest updated version of our popular booklet YOU, YOUR DOMESTIC WORKER AND THE NEW LAWS (R49.00) tells you all the law you need to know about domestic worker employment and includes specimen copies of all necessary legal documents, including a written contract.
To order a copy of our booklet, contact Bernard Reisner:
W.Tel no.: 021-423-3959
Cell: 082-433-8714
Fax: 021-4232105
E-mail: bernard@capelabour.co.za
Website: www.capelabour.co.za