Domestic work arrangements have been agreed very informally in the past with few employer and employee relationships documented in proper, written contracts. But, as a result of too many domestic workers exploited, working in unfavourable conditions, for too long hours and poor pay, the Department of Labour has regulated this sector.
On top of this more strict law enforcement, more domestic workers are ready to take an employer to the CCMA in event of a dispute, whether justified or not. Without some formalized agreement between employer and worker, getting a fair outcome becomes much harder.
The Basic Conditions of Employment Act requires employers to conclude a written employment agreement with their domestic workers, gardeners and childminders (including drivers of children) and those who look after the sick, aged or disabled in private homes.
These prescriptions include the following:
Payslips: Every domestic worker should receive a written payslip on payday setting out the employee’s details, the ordinary and overtime hours worked during the payment period, the applicable rate of remuneration and any deductions made by the employer.
No deductions may be made from a domestic worker’s pay for breakages, work clothing or meals provided.
If accommodation is provided, no more than 10% of the worker’s monthly salary may be deducted as an accommodation allowance.
A domestic worker must be given a meal break of at least 30 minutes after every 5 hours of continuous work.
Overtime: A domestic worker may not be required to work more than 15 hours of overtime in any week. Any overtime worked must be remunerated with additional pay or leave.
Public holidays: If a public holiday falls on a day on which a domestic worker would usually work, the employer must pay the domestic worker for the day, even if the domestic worker doesn’t work that day.
A domestic worker can only be called upon to work on a public holiday if there is a written agreement allowing for this. Such work must be remunerated by double pay.
Annual leave: Every domestic worker is entitled to 3 weeks annual leave.