1 December 2011
Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant has announced a wage increase for South Africa’s domestic workers, and appealed to employers to be fair to a category of workers who form an integral part of the economy.
The adjustment, effective from 1 December, is part of an annual binding determination by the minister in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
Sectoral determinations deal with the protection of workers in vulnerable sectors or areas of work. The determination sets minimum working hours, minimum wages, number of leave days and termination rules.
The sectoral determination also divides the domestic sector into two geographic areas, Area A and Area B.
Area A includes all urban areas with municipalities such as Bergrivier, Buffalo City, City of Tshwane, Emalahleni, Richtersveld, Nama Khoi, Johannesburg and others, while Area B includes smaller municipalities not covered in Area A.
From 1 December, the minimum wage for domestic workers who work 27 hours per week or less in Area A, the minimum wages for workers’ hourly rate will rise from R9.12 per hour to R9.85; and from R246.30 per week to R265.94, and scale up from R1 067.15 to R1 152.32 per month.
For those who work more than 27 ordinary hours per week in Area A, the minimum wage will rise from R7.72 per hour to R8.34, increase from R347.79 to R375.19 per week and nudge higher from R1 506.35 to R1 625.70 per month, said Department of Labour spokesperson Page Boikanyo.
In Area B, workers who work 27 ordinary hours per week or less will now earn a minimum of R8.33 per hour, a weekly minimum of R224.90 and a minimum monthly rate of R974.49, Boikanyo said.
In Area B, where workers work more than 27 ordinary hours per week, the minimum hourly rate will be R7.06; while the weekly minimum rate will be R317.62 and the monthly rate will rise to R1 376.25.
Integral part of the economy
Oliphant appealed to employers to be fair to domestic workers as they are an integral part of the economy.
“We would like to appeal to those who pay their workers well not to lower wages. The sectoral determination is really about the absolute minimum that workers must earn and not the maximum,” she said.
The determination has now expanded to include other sectors such as forestry, contract cleaning, children workers in the performance of advertising, artistic and cultural activities, taxi sector, farm workers, civil engineering, hospitality, learnerships, private security sector, wholesale and retail sector.
“For those domestic employers who choose to ignore this Domestic Worker Sector determination and disregard the law, they must know that the Department of Labour will be watching vigilantly,” said Boikanyo. “The department will intensify enforcement of law during its routine and blitz inspections.”
Employees are encouraged to report non-compliance at their nearest Labour Centres.