Cape Town - Employers of domestic workers in South Africa are being warned to obey the laws regulating their employment, ahead of a crackdown by the department of labour.
Pranisha Maharaj, an associate in the employment practice at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr law firm, said on Wednesday that in a recent crackdown in the Western Cape only 48% of households were found compliant with domestic worker laws.
"Employers were found wanting in failing to provide the domestic workers with written particulars of employment - recording particulars such a brief job description, the ordinary hours of work, rate of pay, notice periods in the event of termination of employment and what deductions have been agreed upon - and failing to issue payslips when paying their domestic workers (with copies to be kept by the employer for three years)," she said.
Maharaj said that the employment of domestic workers - including gardeners and nannies - was specifically governed by Sectoral Determination 7 in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act.
It applied to all domestic workers and prescribed, among others, the minimum wage payable.
"Domestic workers who work more than 24 hours a month for an employer are also entitled to night allowances, annual leave and overtime," Maharaj said.
The department of labour has cautioned employers of their obligation to register themselves and their domestic worker with the Unemployment Insurance Fund as soon as they employ a domestic worker.
A failure to do so could result in employers incurring a penalty calculated as a percentage of the total contributions due, and could also result in the employer being liable for interest from the date that the contributions first became due.
"It is therefore imperative that all employers of domestic workers familiarise themselves with the rights and obligations imposed by the sectoral determination in order to avoid contravening its provisions and being issued with a compliance order, or being required to defend the matter before the Labour Court," Maharaj said.
"While it is commonly accepted that prudent employers will comply with minimum labour legislative provisions at work, many employees themselves will then go home and fail to apply the same at home where they employ a domestic worker.
"A greater awareness of the rights of the domestic workers can avoid an embarrassing or costly visit by the department of labour," said Maharaj.