What Should You Be Paying Your Domestic Worker?
Despite wage requirements outlined in laws, many people still aren’t sure what they should be paying their household workers. Here’s a guide.
Published: Monday, May 8th 2017
While the salaries of domestic workers have been in the spotlight, with the introduction of a new minimum wage in December, many employers are still not aware of what they should be paying their staff.
CompareGuru takes a look at the minimum wage requirements and other considerations you should look at when deciding on a salary.
What Is The Minimum?
The Department of Labour introduced a new minimum wage for domestic workers at the end of 2016.
Firstly, the department defines domestic workers as housekeepers, gardeners, nannies, domestic drivers, and other workers who provide services at your private property.
The minimum salary requirements are based on the area in which you are located. And, the number of hours per week your employee is expected to work also plays a major role.
In Area A, which are essentially urban areas and large municipalities, the department has set out the following rates for domestic workers who work more than 27 hours a week:
Hourly rate: R12.42
Weekly rate: R559.09
Monthly rate: R2433.54
Area B, which consists of more rural areas, has the following required rates:
Hourly rate: R11.31
Weekly rate: R5508.93
Monthly rate: R2205.16
For workers who work less than 27 hours per week, the rates are as follows:
Hourly rate: R14.54
Weekly rate: R392.59
Monthly rate: R1701.06
Hourly rate: R13.35
Weekly rate: R360.54
Monthly rate: R1562.21
These rates, however, are the absolute minimum requirements under law. Even so, they have been generally criticised for not providing a living wage.
So, now you know what you have to pay your domestic workers, but what should you pay them?
Other Considerations To Take Into Account
What you should pay your domestic workers, over and above the minimum wage, depends on their duties and experience – like any other job.
If you cannot afford to employ someone full time at a fair wage, you should rather employ them for fewer hours a week at a decent rate. This allows them to find other income opportunities during their days off.
When compared with workers in other countries, South Africa’s domestic workers earn well below the average.
This especially applies to childcare. Nannies earn higher rates on average. Therefore, if your domestic workers’ responsibilities include baby-sitting, they should be compensated fairly.
Marvellous Maids, a domestic worker placement agency, recommends certain wage requirements for workers who do more than cleaning.
“[We suggest] R2500 - R 2900 p/m for a basic domestic worker (cleaning and laundry),” the company’s site says.
“Where there is the added responsibility of children, we recommend that employers pay nothing less than R3500 p/m, and the demand for excellent child minders with experience and references to prove it can expect to earn in the region of R4500 p/m and up.”
“As the skills of the worker improves, so do the salary expectations. An excellent cook can command wages of R 4250 to R 5500 and a competent driver can command R 1000 above the basic norm,” Marvellous Maids says.
You should also consider other benefits for your employee. These include transport costs and providing lunch if they work a full day. The company also suggests having a domestic worker work a full day rather than only a half day, as their transport costs remain the same.
Meanwhile, apps and services like Domestly allow domestic workers to set their own rates. With an average price of R160 for a half day, and R250 for a full day.
You should also keep over-time pay in mind. By law, you need to pay your employees extra for working on public holidays and Sundays.
Going Above And Beyond
Some employers are paving the way to fair remuneration by going above and beyond the basic requirements for employing domestic workers.
Much like other full-time employers, individuals are increasingly providing their workers with benefits such as subsidised medical aid.
Companies like 1st for Women and 1Life have made insurance policies available for domestic workers, for as little as R66 p/m.
These small policies go a long way in protecting the livelihoods of your workers and their families. If you have the cash to spare, it can literally be a lifesaver.