With effect from 01 December 2012, domestic workers will receive a minimum wage increase. Currently domestic workers who earn a wage of R1625.70 per month will be increased to R1746.00 per month with effect from 01 December 2012.
Even though domestic workers play such an essential role, the minimum wage increase is appalling and domestic workers continue to remain exploited, undervalued employees in our society. Generally, they are marginalised and vulnerable.
The wages that domestic workers earn do not do justice to the contribution they make in the lives of employers and their family in South Africa.
South Africa has enacted legislation to protect domestic workers. The promulgation of Sectoral Determination 7: Domestic Workers in 2002 represented a systematic attempt to regulate conditions of employment to eliminate abuse in this sector. Despite significant improvements, many domestic workers in South Africa are still trapped in the informal economy and unable to exercise their rights.
Despite all the struggles, a large percentage of domestic workers are still not au fait with their rights, are not paid a living wage, are not registered with Unemployment Insurance Fund, are not issued with contracts of employment nor payslips and are not paid overtime. Such conditions are not conducive to a decent working relationship. Domestic workers remain under paid, over worked and unprotected if injured on duty and have no right to a provident fund.
The plight of domestic workers will continue despite demands from the trade union movement and other sectors to improve this sector’s wages and working conditions.
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 over here: Domestic Workers Rights.