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Understand your domestic employer rights and duties

Domestic employer pros and cons

Domestic workers, defined by South African law as people who perform services in private homes, such as gardeners, cleaners, and caregivers for children, the elderly, or the ill and disabled, have certain rights that employers are required to be aware of.

The South African United Commercial and Allied Employers Organisation (SA UEO) said that hiring a domestic worker means you become a domestic employer with significant legal responsibilities.

The SA UEO is a 25-year-old South African employers’ organisation registered with the Department of Employment and Labour (DEL). Even hiring foreign workers employers are not immune from complying with domestic employment laws.

Non-compliance can lead to severe penalties and legal repercussions, including hefty fines and negative outcomes at the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration (CCMA).

According to Stuart MacGregor, expert labour law practitioner and ex officio official at SA UEO, the statement an employer must:

• Provide the domestic worker with an employment contract and job description.

• Employers must maintain records containing essential employee information, including their ID, occupation, hours worked, remuneration, and contact details. When the employee no longer works for you, you must retain these records for at least three years thereafter.

• In accordance with Sectoral Determination 7 of the law, employees must receive pay slips containing relevant salary information on each payday.

• Be registered for both UIF and workmen’s compensation to protect in case of unemployment and work-related injuries or illnesses.

• All domestic workers are entitled to leave specified types of leave pay.

Authorised labour inspectors may enter your home, even if it is in a complex or estate to verify my domestic worker’s employment status.

If your domestic helper is in possession of a valid, renewable work permit, the renewal can be completed locally, and the worker is not required to return to their place of origin. However, the renewal application must be completed before the current work permit expires.

Employers mitigate the risks of employing a foreigner by viewing their documents, Verifying the validity of the documents, confirming their expiry date and checking if the documents are renewed before the expiry date.

Consequences of non-compliance with labour laws

Failure to comply with legal obligations can result in fines and penalties of anywhere between R10 000 to R50 000, subject to the severity and duration of the violation.

Additionally, if your domestic worker lodges a claim against you at the CCMA and you are found guilty of unfair labour practices, the worker may be awarded financial compensation.

It is also crucial to be part of a collective that advocates for the rights of employers. Just as employees join trade unions to advocate for their rights, employers can benefit from joining an employer’s organisation too.

SA UEO offers a unique, bespoke membership category specifically for domestic employers for just R70 per month (plus VAT). Members gain access to group CCMA cover, a wealth of resources and support to effortlessly meet their legal obligations and enhance worker protection and empowerment.

For more info, email domestics@saueo.co.za or visit www.saueo.co.za.

Also Read: Domestic workers now qualify for workers’ compensation

Also Read: Do you really know your domestic staff?


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