How Much Should You Pay Your Domestic Worker

In the first quarter of 2016, 45,000 domestic workers lost their jobs. Currently, in South Africa, there are over 1 million women employed as domestic workers. But many employees are unsure about the minimum wage and how much they should actually be paying their domestic workers.

The average domestic worker, depending on location, earns anything from R2,200 to R2,500 per month. Considering inflation and food prices this is hardly a salary anyone can actually survive on.

The number of hours worked should legally be a maximum of 8 hours per day. With a maximum of 45 hours per week. Sundays and public holidays should be paid as overtime, and public holidays should be the domestic workers choice to work or not.

What Should You Be Paying Your Domestic Worker

The Department of Labour announced an increase in the minimum wage for domestic workers across South Africa as of  1 December 2016. According to the definition of a “domestic worker” as provided by the department, this includes all housekeepers, gardeners, nannies, and domestic drivers, among others.

As highlighted by Duma, these wages are split into two area categories with “Area A” referring to large metropolitan municipalities and built up areas and suburbs and “Area B” referring to all other municipalities.

Domestic workers who work 27 ordinary hours a week or more

Minimum Area A Area B
Hourly Rate R12.42 R11.31
Weekly Rate R559.09 R508.93
Monthly Rate R2 422.54 R2 205.17

Domestic workers who work less than 27 ordinary hours a week

Minimum Area A Area B
Hourly rate R14.54 R13.53
Weekly Rate R392.58 R360.54
Monthly Rate R1 701.06 R1 562.21

South Africa’s national minimum wage, which is set to take effect in May 2018, will push the new minimum for workers including domestic workers, to R3,500 a month (or R20 an hour). The national minimum wage is now set at R3‚900 for domestic workers who work 45 hours a week or nine hours a day. Those workers who work 8 hours a day are now entitled to R3‚500 as a monthly remuneration.

Deputy President, Cyril Ramaphosa, said that this introductory wage was not a living wage, but rather a starting point for the discussion around the minimum wage level going forward.

This is true. Put yourself in your domestic’s ‘shoes’, could you really survive on R3,500 per month? Perhaps affordability forms part of your decision, but if you are able to offer more. Then do. These ladies are bringing up our kids and helping to make a busy moms life just a little easier. We are in fact lucky to have them!

Here are a few tips to help keep the relationship between yourself and your domestic workers professional:

  • Educate your domestic worker that it’s a working relationship.
  • Put together a one-page document signed by both parties. Outlining your requirements and what the employee agrees to. Ensure you follow the legal rules with regards to hours worked etc. This includes hours per day, days per week, number of holiday days per year. Whether you pay yearly bonus and/or family leave allowances.
  • Encourage an open and good working relationship.
  • If your domestic worker lives on your property. Ensure he/she knows the security rules and the reasons behind them.
  • Include a monthly sit down to discuss matters, ensure an open communication from both parties.

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