According to a survey done by News24 in 2015, with over 12 000 responses, the Western Cape pays domestic workers more than any other province at an average of R188.50 per day.
Gauteng averaged R172 per day, KwaZulu-Natal R151 a day, North West R128 and Northern Cape R120 for an average shift.
When I read these figures, I was shocked. How are people supposed to survive on under R200 a day? Especially if they have families to clothe and feed?
I thought, surely, this must be illegal somehow. That the government must have some sort of law in place, or a basic minimum wage that all domestic workers are required to earn. I was even more surprised by what I found.
The current minimum wage recommended by the South African Labour Department for domestic workers is R2230.70 per month, or R514.82 per week, or R11.44 per hour, for a standardised 45-hour week. This means that even in the North West, the lowest paying province, domestic workers are still being paid more than the government recommended salary.
I do not currently employ a domestic worker, but I hope that if I do someday, I’ll be able to provide them with a better salary than a measly R2000 a month.
Also, how many employers actually observe the rules and regulations put in place to protect domestic workers’ rights? Do they get paid for overtime? Are they made to work more than 45 hours a week? Do they get proper lunch breaks and leave?
These women (and sometimes men) clean your homes, they cook for you, they look after your children. They become part of your family, often at the detriment of their own. So why are they not being paid for giving most of their lives to making sure yours runs smoothly?
For a full break down of domestic worker rights, click here.