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Who is a Domestic employer?

You are a domestic employer if you employ somebody who works in your HOME, which includes housekeepers, gardeners, nannies, carers, domestic drivers etc. However it does NOT apply to domestic workers who are employed on a FARM, as they fall under FARM WORKERS (this category of workers falls under a different Sectoral Determination with slightly different regulations in terms of wages, working hours etc.)

Who is a Domestic worker?

A domestic worker is an employee whose job is wholly or mainly to do with domestic work in a household. Gardeners, people employed as drivers of motor vehicles, and people who take care of children, the aged, the sick and the disabled also fall within the category of domestic workers. This includes domestic workers who are supplied or employed by employment services. This excludes domestic workers who are employed on a farm.

Who must register with UIF?

Based on the legislation in Section 10 of the Unemployment Insurance Contribution Act, all employers who have employees working for them for 24 hours or more per month need to register with the UIF.

What are “normal” working hours for domestic workers?

A domestic worker may not be made to work more than 45 hours per week, more than 9 hours per day for a 5 day work week, or more than 8 hours per day for a 6 day work week. Any hours over these are considered over time for which the worker must be compensated separately from their basic salary. However a domestic worker may not work more than 15 hours overtime per week, and not more than 12 hours on any given day included overtime. The rate of pay for overtime is 1.5 times the normal hourly rate, or paid time off in lieu. The rate of pay for Sundays and public holidays is 2 times the normal rate.

What are leave entitlements?

There are different kinds of leave that an employer should know about. They are:

Annual leave: Annual leave may not be less than 3 weeks per year for full-time workers or 1 day for every 17 days worked or 1 hour for every 17 hours worked. The leave must be granted no later than 6 months after the completion of the period of 12 consecutive months of employment. The leave may not be granted concurrent with any period of sick leave, nor with a period of notice of termination of the contract of employment.

Sick leave: During every sick leave cycle of 36 months an employee is entitled to an amount of paid sick leave equal to the number of days the employee would normally work during a period of 6 weeks. I.e for employees working 5 days per week, they will be entitled to 30 days paid sick leave in the 36 month period. Unused sick leave is not carried over to the next cycle. For new employees, during the first 6 months of employment an employee is entitled to 1 days paid sick leave for every 26 days worked. Medical certificates must be produced if an employee is absent for 3 or more consecutive days, or on more than 2 occasions in an 8 week period. Failure to produce a medical certificate will mean that the leave is unpaid.

Maternity leave: The employee is entitled to 4 months maternity leave. The employer is not obliged to pay the employee however parties may agree that the worker will receive part of her full salary for the time that she is off. Employees can claim maternity benefits from the UIF.

Family responsibility leave: Full time workers may take 3 days of paid family responsibility leave during each annual leave cycle (12 months period from start of employment). Unused family responsibility leave is not carried over into the next cycle. Family responsibility leave is given in the following instances: birth of a child (paternity leave), sick child, death of partner/spouse/child/parent/grandparent/sibling. A death certificate must be produced.

How do I terminate a contract of employment?

The services of an employee may not be terminated unless a valid and fair reason exists, and fair procedure is followed. If an employee is dismissed without a valid reason or fair procedure, they may approach the CCMA for assistance. In the case of dismissal for disciplinary-related issues, there must be proof of warnings issued and steps taken to address the matter including disciplinary hearings before a dismissal is undertaken. In the case of retrenchment, the correct notices and hearings must also be held.

What information must be stated on a payslip?

Every domestic worker must receive, on payday, a payslip showing the following:

Employer’s name and address; domestic worker’s occupation; period of payment; worker’s rate and overtime rate; hours worked; overtime worked; Sunday/public holiday hours worked; wage; any other pay; details of deductions; nett payment. As part of our employment contract pack you will be provided with a payslip pre-filled in with your and your employee’s details, and you simply need to fill in the hours worked each month before printing. It is good practice to get your employee to sign a register showing that they have been issued with a payslip and keep this on file in case of dispute in the future.