Johannesburg - South Africans must discuss wage increases for their domestic workers in light of a minimum wage increase announced by the department of labour, the Federation of Unions of SA (Fedusa) said on Tuesday.
General secretary Dennis George said in a statement: "Employers should rather sit down with their domestic workers and discuss realistic increases linked to the rising cost of living".
Employers should take the Consumer Price Index as a starting point when entering talks with their workers, and then take into account specific factors affecting cost of living.
"Transport cost, as well as food cost, for instance, could be factors to take into account," said George.
Employers should also bear in mind that domestic workers were entitled to paid annual leave of 21 consecutive days, family responsibility leave, maternity leave as well as sick leave.
Domestic workers can work a maximum of 45 hours per week and ten hours over time. Each day they were entitled to an hour-long break.
They also needed a 36-hour rest period.
Last week, the labour department announced the revised minimum wages for the sector.
In large cities, the rate for domestics workers who worked less than 27 hours per week would rise from R9.85 an hour to R10.48; from R165.94 per week to R285.62: and from R1 152.32 per month to R1 237.60.
The rate of those who worked more than 27 hours per week would go up from R8.34 an hour to R8.95; from R375.19 per week to R402.96; and from R1 625.70 per month to R1 746.
In small towns, those who worked more 27 hours per week should receive the new rates of R7.65 per hour, R344.30 per week, and R1 491.86 per month.
Those who worked less than 27 hours should get the new rate of R9.03 per hour, R243.83 per week and R1 056.35 per month.
"Fedusa believes that domestic workers play a critical role in our economy and all employers must ensure that they do everything in their power to promote decent working conditions for domestic workers," George said.
"It is important to note that the minimum wages set by the department [of labour] is only a guideline and the bare minimum."
George urged private employment agencies not to deduct levies from the salaries of domestic workers.
"Fedusa thanks those employers who already pay their domestic more than the minimum wage and those who provide free accommodation and meals," George said.
"While our members are employees and we always campaign for the protection of their rights and promotion of their interests around the negotiation table, our members are also employers of domestic workers.
"It is important for members to be fair towards their domestic workers if they expect fairness from their own employers."
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