Government gazettes updated rules for domestic workers in South Africa

Compensation Fund commissioner Vuyo Mafata has gazetted additional regulations to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (Coida) for domestic workers.

The gazette confirms that domestic workers are now covered under the act for illness or injury contracted at work. It also provides further information on the types of compensation that will be paid and what compensation will be paid for.

“This is to inform the domestic employees that based on the Constitutional Court Order dated 19 November 2020, domestic employees are now covered under the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (Coida),” said Mafata.

This means that domestic employees will now be entitled for compensation in the event they are injured or contract diseases while on duty, he said.

“As per the Coida, the employee is a person who has entered into or works under a contract of service or of apprenticeship or learnership, with an employer, whether the contract is express or implied, oral or in writing, and whether the remuneration is calculated by time or by work done, or is in cash or in kind.”

Compensation payable to domestic workers for occupational injuries and diseases are the same benefits that are payable to all other injured employees.

Benefits paid to an injured employee are based on an approved formula as well as minimum and maximum compensation outlined in Schedule 4 of the Compensation for Occupational Injury and Diseases Act that is published annually by the Compensation Fund (CF).

The gazette also includes a section on compensation payable to the dependents of employees who died as a result of injury on duty or occupational disease. This includes issues such as funeral expenses payable to dependents, pensions and other awards.

New minimum wage 

In February, Labour minister Thulas Nxesi published the new minimum wage for South Africa – including domestic workers.

In a gazette published on Monday evening (8 February), the minister said that the national minimum wage is now R21.69 for each ordinary hour. This change will take effect from 1 March 2021.

Domestic workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R19.09 per hour. This wage is set to increase in the coming years as the government aims to equalise minimum wages for all workers.

The National Minimum Wage Act was first proclaimed in 2018, setting a historic precedent in the protection of low-earning (vulnerable) workers in South Africa and provided a platform for reducing inequality and huge disparities in income in the national labour market.

In terms of the law it is an unfair labour practice for an employer to unilaterally alter hours of work or other conditions of employment in implementing the national minimum wage.

The national minimum wage is the amount payable for the ordinary hours of work and does not include payment of allowances (such as transport, tools, food or accommodation) payments in kind (board or lodging), tips, bonuses and gifts.


Read: The problem with having a zero-percent alcohol limit for drivers in South Africa – and what can be done to solve it

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Government gazettes updated rules for domestic workers in South Africa