You will have to pay your domestic worker more from January – before the national minimum wage kicks in

The department of labour has released the sectoral determination for domestic workers, showing the new minimum wages for domestics across South Africa – at least until the national minimum wage comes into effect.

According to the latest determination, domestic workers must get paid a minimum of R1,641 up to R2,545, depending on which area you live in. This is a 5% increase from 2017’s rates.

The tables below show the new minimum wages – which are effective from 1 January 2018 to 30 November 2018.

Domestic workers who work 27 ordinary hours a week or more

Minimum Area A Area B
Hourly Rate R13.05 R11.89
Weekly Rate R587.40 R534.91
Monthly Rate R2 545.22 R2 317.75

Domestic workers who work less than 27 ordinary hours a week

Minimum Area A Area B
Hourly rate R15.28 R14.03
Weekly Rate R412.60 R78.83
Monthly Rate R1 787.80 R1 641.48

Area A refers to large metropolitan municipalities and built up areas and suburbs – Area B is all other municipalities. You can read the full list of areas in the DoL publication.

These minimum wages are still part of the typical sectoral denomination, which will stand until the new National Minimum Wage (NMW) is implemented in 2018, and the regulations around it are ironed out.

The current plan for the NMW is for it to come into effect from May 2018.

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

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 said in its NWM document.

However, unlike the sectoral determinations, the NMW does not make a distinction between different geographical areas, which means, once implemented, you may have to pay your domestic worker significantly more come May 2018.

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.


Read: South Africans are ditching live-in domestic workers and swimming pools

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