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New domestic worker minimum wages

In rural areas the new minimum rates is R12,47 per hour.

THE minimum wages in the Domestic Worker Sector have been increased by approximately 4,9% with effect from 3 December 2018. The actual extent of the respective increases depends on the geographic location of the employer, as well as whether the employee works for more than 27 hours per week.

The new minimum rate for a domestic worker in the city and most towns, working for more than 27 hours per week is R13,69 per hour and R16,03 per hour if they work 27 hours or less per week. In rural areas the new minimum rates is R12,47 per hour if they work for more than 27 hours per week and R14,72 per hour for 27 hours or less per week.

While there has been some confusion around the implementation of a new ‘National Minimum Wage’ (NMW) of R20 per hour on 1 January 2019, this will not have an immediate effect on domestic workers’ wages. There will be a phasing-in period during which domestic workers’ wages will gradually be increased to catch up with the NMW.

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For employees who work 45 hours per week, the minimum monthly wage will be just short of R3900. If the contract of employment makes provision for less than 45 hours per week, the monthly rate can be less than this amount. Employers are not permitted to unilaterally reduce hours of work or change other conditions of employment in response to the implementation of the NMW.

Employers are restricted in the way that they structure the remuneration package. The NMW excludes allowances that are paid to enable employees to work (such as transport and equipment), or payment in kind (such as board or accommodation), as well as bonuses, tips or food. So, for example, one cannot argue that you pay an employee less than R20 per hour because you contribute to their uniform or provide them with meals. Employers are also not permitted to unilaterally change working hours due to the implementation of the NMW. Any reduction of hours of work will have to be negotiated.

There is provision for employers to apply for exemption of up to a 10% reduction by means of an electronic system.


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