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Domestic workers to get provident fund

Feb 22 2012 16:12 Sapa

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Cape Town - The labour department will establish provident funds for domestic and farm workers by March next year, according to budget documents tabled by Finance Minister Pravin Gordhan on Wednesday.

It will also look at a medical aid scheme for the private security sector.

According to the 2012 estimates of national expenditure, these objectives are in line with the spending focus over the medium term, which is to protect vulnerable workers in these areas as well as in the hospitality and forestry sectors.

Other goals were to reintegrate work seekers into the labour market and ensure decent work.

The department would receive R2.1bn to achieve set goals, up from R1.9bn in 2011/2012.

An amount of R429m had been set aside for inspection and enforcement services.

The department aimed to inspect 130 000 workplaces for compliance with labour legislation.

It would also conduct audits and "blitz inspections" in high risk sectors such as construction and chemicals, to reduce accidents and injuries.

With an unstable labour market, caused by the global economic crisis, workers are vulnerable to abuse from employers.

The department has increased the budget of the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration to accommodate the likely increase in cases.

It has done the same for the Unemployment Insurance Fund, with a focus on implementing poverty alleviation schemes for registered members.

In his budget speech on Wednesday, Gordhan said a wide range of government programmes and policies had come under scrutiny in the past year in respect of job-creation.

He said his budget was aimed at supporting job-creation through education and skills development.

"At this time last year, funding was allocated to a new Jobs Fund, aimed at supporting innovative public or private sector projects with potential to create sustainable job opportunities," he said.

"The fund began in June, and received over 2 500 applications in its first call for proposals."

Gordhan said project allocations of over R1bn had been committed, and a second round of applications would be announced shortly.
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