Domestic workers should register for the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) to ensure they have a cushion if they find themselves out of work.
This is the advice of Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant who was speaking at a Domestic Sector Imbizo, organised by the Department of Labour, recently.
The Minister said that the number of domestic workers currently registered with the UIF was not a true reflection of the total number of domestic workers in the country. There are currently 652 676 domestic workers on the UIF register.
Institutions like the UIF have played a critical role in protecting workers against poverty by providing unemployment insurance and other benefits to workers, she stressed.
“We know that some employers of domestic workers do not register their employees with UIF. The department has set in motion the legislative framework for [domestic workers] to be registered.
“However, in order for us to enjoy the benefits of a better life for all, you as domestic workers need to assist government to ensure that you are registered with UIF,” said Minister Oliphant.
The Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act is being reviewed by legal experts with a possibility of extending this to the domestic sector. Public hearings would be held soon on the planned review.
The domestic sector’s current sectoral determination came into effect from 1 December 2013 and will end on 30 November 2014.
The minimum wages apply for domestic workers who work more than 27 hours per week. For those who work in mainly urban areas the minimum wage is R9.63 hourly, R433.35 weekly (for a 45 hour week) and R 1877.70 monthly (for a 45 hour week), while for those working in mainly rural areas it is R8.30 hourly, R373.50 weekly (for a 45 hour week) and R1618.37 monthly (for a 45 hour week).
Sectoral determination regulates employment conditions in the vulnerable sectors of the economy.