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Domestic workers to get a 5% pay hike … for now

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This 5% increase will go up once the National Minimum Wage is implemented.

Domestic workers will receive a 5% pay increase. File image.

DOMESTIC workers in Kimberley will, from January 1, earn a minimum wage of R2 545.22 – but this will go up once the National Minimum Wage is implemented.

This is according to the Department of Labour’s sectoral determination for domestic workers, which dictates the new minimum wages for domestics across South Africa.

In Kimberley, which falls under Area A, domestic workers, who works more than 27 ordinary hours a week, must be paid an hourly rate of R13.05, a weekly rate of R587.40 or a monthly rate of R2 545.22.

For domestic workers, who work less than 27 ordinary hours a week, the hourly rate is R15.28, the weekly rate R412.60 and the monthly rate R1 787.80.

The municipalities in the Northern Cape that fall into Area A include Gamagara, Karoo Hoogland, Kgatelopele, Khara Hais, Nama Khoi, Richtersveld and Sol Plaatje.

The other municipalities fall into Area B.

The minimum wages in these municipalities for domestic workers who work 27 hours or more a week is R11.89 an hour, R534.91 a week or R2 317.75 a month.

For those who work less than 27 hours a week, the rate is R14.03 an hour, R78.83 a week and R1 641.48 a month.

The new rate is a 5% increase from 2017’s rates and will be effective as from 1 January 2018.

According to the Ministry of Labour’s spokesperson, Sithembele Tshwete, however, these figures will be offset by the introduction of the National Minimum Wages which will be implemented in the coming year.

The current plan is for the National Minimum Wages (NMW) to be adopted from May 2018.

While the current minimum is set at R3,500 a month (or R20 an hour), domestic workers will earn only 75% of that figure (R2 625 a month, or R15 an hour).

“All wages for domestic workers during the period of the NMW will be set at R15 for both local (Area B) and greater metropolitan (Area A) areas. However, the wages for domestic workers in local and rural areas who work 27 ordinary hours per week or less, will be slightly over the R15/* proposed by the NMW,” Tshewete said.

He added that this would be a significant step towards the reduction of wage differentials across the bigger and smaller metropolitan areas into the same minimum, therefore obviating the inequality experienced by rural and local council areas.

“The Minister of Labour is also implementing these increases in order to offset the rising costs of living especially for domestic workers and maintain the current standards of living until such time when the NMW is promulgated.”

According to National Treasury, the reason for the lower wage is due to the higher risk of unemployment for domestic workers if the minimum wage is too high.

National Treasury’s data shows that 91% of domestic workers in South Africa earn below R3 500 a month, with the average monthly salary only R1 164.

Currently, penalties and punishments are being considered for those who are found not to be paying in-line with the national minimum wage, including possibly paying the employee double the amount.