As domestic employers, many of us think that the rules of compliancy in terms of what is expected by the Department of Labour, do not apply to us.
The employment relationship that exists between Private Households and their Domestic Workers is one of the most neglected and ill-administrated employment relationships to be found in South Africa.
This is usually due to a combination of factors on the part of the employer:
- Ignorance as to what their responsibilities are towards their employees.
- Confusion and feeling overwhelmed by the prospect of having to deal with the Department of Labour and try and make sense of what needs to be done.
- A misguided sense that the domestic employer/employee relationship does not need to be formalised and can be based on trust and word of mouth alone. This is especially true for older employers who have had their domestic employee work for them for many years.
- Apathy on the part of some employers, who do not take their responsibilities seriously enough and do not prioritise what needs to be done.
Unfortunately, regardless of the reasons behind not being compliant, this will not serve you well should your employee take you to the CCMA at some point in the future. Employers are often shocked when their seemingly loyal worker lays a case against them at the CCMA, assuming the years of looking after them and even possibly their families, will counteract any potential claim that may have to be paid. This is not the case and by the time the worker has gone to the CCMA, it is indeed too late to rectify things.
Being compliant in terms of the law is your responsibility as an employer and should be viewed as a priority by all domestic employers for the following 5 reasons.
- When you employ a domestic worker, you assume a certain role which comes with a set of duties and responsibilities.
- Carrying out these duties and responsibilities shows your employee that you respect them and that their job is important
- Having a clear written contract in place with a job description will go a long way to ensuring that your employee knows what is and what is not expected of them, which is very often a cause of tension in this relationship
- Paying UIF is a legal obligation which is there to protect your worker should they find themselves unemployed.
- Having a compliant contract in place can protect you from the trauma and frustration of a CCMA case down the line
There are in fact ZERO benefits to NOT having a contract and UIF in place. Some employers believe that if they simply do not get their domestic worker to sign a contract, they can treat them badly and exploit them (paying below minimum wage, forcing longer working hours than legally allowed) and that the employee has no recourse. This is NOT the case. Should there be no contract in place, by default the relationship must follow the guidelines of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (upon which our domestic employment contracts are based) and the employee can still lodge a case at the CCMA for being treated unfairly and will, in all likelihood, be successful.
There are so many advantages to being compliant, for both the employer and the employer, that is seems a “no brainer”!
If you still need to get compliant, pop me an email at [email protected] or visit the website and order a Contract and UIF pack online.