My initial surprise to the Department of Labour’s new prescribed minimum wage of R10.95 per hour was nothing in comparison to the outrage I felt after learning that almost a fifth of our readers deemed it fair to pay a domestic worker no more than R80 for a full day’s work.

Eighty Rand? What, are you kidding me?!

I get that the cost of living varies from city to city, but how on earth is anyone supposed to survive on peanuts like this? I bet that for many, travelling to and from their employees’ homes alone carries a hefty price tag... what about their other responsibilities, like seeing to every day bills and providing food for their families?

*Right now, I swear I feel my cheeks growing pink in frustration.

Anyway. So we took the discussion to the Women24 Facebook page. Here are some of the responses:

Carla Badenhorst: We pay farm wage R74.90 per day.

Linda Nyarai Mavura Tadya: Here in Zim it’s between R500 and R800 p/month.

Bronwyn May: I do my own house, but my mom has a lady once a week to help her. She gets R200 a day.

Kimmie NJoseph:
R120 from 8am to 2pm on a Saturday.

Brenda Desiree Bendeman Cooper: R250 per day for a casual or R4000 pm, 5 days a week.

Chantelle Ashley: She lives with us and earns R1, 800 per month plus 13th cheque (she's due for a raise in April) and we are responsible for her food, toiletries and medical needs (doctors, dentists, medication, etc.). We drive her where she needs to go (mostly just church on Saturdays) and give her 23 leave days per annum. We pay for one trip to her chosen relative once a year (Durban/Malawi/etc.) and have set aside a savings account into which we deposit a pension that I've calculated based on my own pension payment, but which we pay completely...

Sharon Farrell: R350 for every second Saturday morning 08:00-13:00, plus paid leave and sick leave.

Leanne Basdew: R1, 800 per month. She stays in and eats and cooks whatever she wants in the house. Goes home every weekend and transport is paid for by us...

Jenni Palfreyman-Turner: I am in Durban, my lady comes in once a week from 8-12.30. I pay R120 per day. There are just 2 of us and I do the washing.

Carmen Rieth: Just started having a live-in helper, will be paying her R2700 a month plus some of her food requirements. Extra for babysitting. We are in Sandton.

Rosemary Zisengwe: My boss was giving me R1, 800. Unfortunately she passed away.

Gail Hayes-Bean: I live in PE and my housekeeper earns R660 per month working from 8.30 - 3.30 once a week. I also assist her by standing surety for her so that she can sell clothes on consignment which she earns commission on and have given her a reference to die for because she has been part of my family for 24 years. I taught her to cook and also speak flawless English. I am a widowed pensioner now so let her go 4 days of the week so that she can earn more. My son paid for her son to have extra Maths and Physics and also contributed R8, 000 to her husband's funeral. Her brother works as my gardener when I can afford him. I trust them with my life. I also gave her an interest free loan when her RDP house fell down on her so that she could plaster it inside and out. During the SWC I organised for her son to be at the matches played here in front row seats.

Chantelle Ashley: Lol! Florence doesn't eat bread. Or pork. Most of the time she eats with us (she's family for godssake) and has access to all the same things we do (including phone and entertainment) but when we're eating something she doesn't, she cooks whatever the hell she likes from the freezer store. Helpers are people just like us, with the same goals and aspirations for their children. I believe I owe it to Flo to help her actualise those since she's devoting years to being there for MY family. That's why I choose to emphasise the family stuff in her package like the paid trips home, paid leave, cell and landline allowances, etc. I still pay her as much as I can, but I know it makes a difference to cut out things like transport fees, bank admin charges, etc. from her life. And she's cashed in her pension account twice for various reasons to I know she appreciates the savings. So I try to lessen her stress like that.

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