How Much You Should Pay Your Domestic Worker This Year ?

Domestic work is one of the largest employment sectors in South Africa. It’s also one of the most unequal.

The private nature of the work makes it hard to regulate, which means that domestic workers are often denied the basic rights that other workers are entitled to in more public employment, like compensation for a workplace injury or death or illness contracted in the workplace.

For privileged South Africans, the conversation about how much you should or shouldn’t be paying your domestic worker is a seemingly endless one, that rarely takes the above into account.

So while I’m sure you’re paying above minimum wage (seriously, it’s the least you can do), it’s important that you keep up to date with changes to the minimum wage and stats about what constitutes a living wage.

One of the ways that you can do that is by making use of the website ‘Living Wage’. It gives employers the chance to see whether or not they’re paying their employees well enough.

Secondly, per BusinessTech, take note of how much you should be paying your domestic worker in 2020:

The agreed NMW at National Economic Development and Labour Council (Nedlac) is pegged at R20 an hour for major sectors, with the exception of sectors such as farm and domestic workers.

The minimum wage for domestic workers is 75% of R20 per hour. That’s R15 per hour. The reason given by the National Treasury is a higher risk of unemployment for domestic workers if the minimum wage is too high.

However, Nedlac social partners have agreed that the farm, forestry and domestic sectors will be brought up to 100% of the NMW within two years, pending research by the National Minimum Wage Commission.

This is a step in the right direction because R15 an hour is simply not enough to feed a family, let alone provide for all the other household expenses that arise each month.

Pietermaritzburg Economic Justice & Dignity Group has found that the minimum salary necessary to take care of a family of four would be in the region of R4 500 a month.

At R4,500 a month, in the working scenario (21 days, 8 hours a day), domestic workers would be paid R27 an hour (R214 a day) – R7 more than the current minimum wage, and R12 more than the current minimum set out for domestic workers.

Realistically, that number is closer to R7 600 a month to cover the costs of keeping a family fed and clothed.

If you think about what you’re actually paying for, it makes sense that the minimum wage should be higher for domestic workers.

Yes, you’re paying to have your house cleaned and/or your children taken care of, but you’re also paying for time – the time that you don’t spend doing those things, is time spent elsewhere.

As the old adage goes – time is money.

So the question is – how much is your time worth?


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