Operations Manager at FNB Law on Call Tertius Bossert breaks down important information that a domestic worker’s contract should entail:

What is the job description?

The employment contract must specify your employee’s job title and a description of the work that will be carried out. This is to ensure that both parties are on the same page in terms of what to expect and what is expected from each other.

What are the working hours?

It is worth noting that working hours cannot be more than the 45 hours a week that is prescribed in the country’s labour laws, which can be broken down into nine hours a day for a five day work week or eight hours a day for a six day work week. Any additionally hours are considered overtime. 

How much will they be earning?

Employers have to adhere to domestic worker’s minimum wages set by the Department of Labour which clearly stipulate that domestic workers who work in urban areas earn a minimum of 13.05 per hour whereas those working at non-urban areas earn a minimum of R11.89 per hour.  These rates are, however currently under review.

Will they have leave days?

Statutory leave such as annual leave, sick leave, maternity leave and family responsibility leave should be stipulated in the employment contract. In cases where the employee needs to take leave, she will have to apply for leave with her employer.

What is the notice period?

The contract needs to include the notice period in the event that one party wishes to terminate the contract. One week notice is often given if the domestic worker is employed for one month or less, two weeks’ notice if employed for more than 1 month, but less than 12 months, and  four weeks’ notice if employed for more than twelve months. The termination of employment should be in writing unless if the employee is unable to read or write. In this case termination can also be verbal.

Bossert says, “It is always advisable to consult an attorney to assist in reviewing the contract to ensure that there are no mistakes. For consumers that cannot afford an attorney, there are service provides that offer consumers legal counsel  such as labour matters, civil matters, criminal matters, reviewing contracts, drafting of a will at an affordable monthly premium. For example, FNB Law On Call offers these services for R75 a month.