Early festive cheer: Domestic workers' minimum wage increased

27 Nov 2013 2 min read Article

On 25 November 2013, the Minister of Labour announced an above consumer price index increase in the statutory minimum wage for the domestic workers.  The new wages, effective from 1 December 2013 to 30 November 2014, will be increased by one percent above the consumer price index for domestic workers working in urban areas and two percent above the consumer price index in rural areas.

Lauren Salt, Associate in the Employment Practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr says that as such, the minimum wage for domestic workers working 27 hours or more per week will be R9.63 per hour, in urban areas. In rural areas the minimum wage for domestic workers will be  R8.30 per hour. The minimum wage for domestic workers who work 27 hours or less per week will be  R11.27 per hour in urban areas and  R9.80 per hour, in rural areas.

Salt explains that Section 51 of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act, (BCEA), grants the Minister the authority to establish Sectoral Determinations applicable to sector and area. The Minister has, to date, issued 14 Sectoral Determinations, including ones for the Contract Cleaning, Civil Engineering, Clothing and Knitting,  Private Security, Wholesale and Retail Sector, Taxi, Farm Worker and Hospitality Sectors. These Sectoral Determinations supersede the BCEA in respect of the areas covered by the Sectoral Determination. The Sectoral Determination thus becomes the law on basic conditions of employment in respect for the issues covered in the Determination.

“It is also important to note that, in terms of the Sectoral Determination 7 dealing with the Domestic Worker Sector, an employer may not require or permit a domestic worker to work more than 45 hours in any week; and nine hours on any day if the domestic worker works for five days or less in a week; or eight hours in any day if the domestic worker works on more than five days in any week. It also that an employer must pay a domestic worker at least one and a half times the domestic worker’s wage for overtime worked,” says Salt.

“The increase should provide some reprieve to domestic workers receiving the minimum wage in terms of the Sectoral Determination.  Employers of domestic workers (including domestic gardeners and child minders) are reminded that they are still entitled to pay their domestic workers in excess of the new statutory minimum amounts. They are not allowed to dip below the prescribed wages,” she says.

“Employers should familiarise themselves with the Sectoral Determination in order to ensure they do not inadvertently fail to comply with the law,” she adds

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