New minimum wages for domestic workers

Zweli Mokgata

Zweli Mokgata

Domestic workers can expect a happy new year, at least financially, says government.

The Department of Labour has outlined new minimum wage requirements for domestic workers that will take effect from this month, December, to November next year.

Domestic workers' wages will rise to R1066,90 a month for employees working more than 27 hours a week in the higher paid areas of South Africa, according to the sectoral determination publicised by Labour Minister Membathisi Mdladlana.

Domestic workers in the so-called 'Area A' - which includes the metropolitan cities of Johannesburg, Durban and Cape Town - were earning R997,04 a month last year.

Marvelous Maids director Kate Shuttleworth said that it was important that domestic workers know industry standard pay as well as compulsory minimum wage.

"Our recommendations are R1500 for a basic domestic worker who would clean, tidy, do the laundry and possibly prepare vegetables," Shuttleworth said.

"However, due to increased cost of living, we recommend an annual salary review and increase, at least in line with the CPIX, taking performance and affordability into account."

The rises are based on a CPIX of 5 percent, based on the official October figure, plus two percent, taking the rises to seven percent.

Domestic workers working for 27 hours a week or less in the higher paid areas are entitled to R756,09 as compared to R706,63 last year.

Employees who work for 27 hours a week or less in the lower paid areas - 'Area B' - will earn R613,39 as compared to R573.26 last year.

Meanwhile, those who work for more than 27 hours in the Area B will receive R865,54, up from R808,92, according to Mdladlana's spokesman Mokgadi Pela.

Shuttleworth said that the minimum wage requirements were only a guideline, and that domestic workers should work hard to improve their skills.

"As your skills improve, so do the salary expectations," she said, "If the worker is a good cook, she can command R2000 and above. A housekeeper with a driver's licence can earn a further R1000."