How much you need to pay your domestic worker with the new national minimum wage

The new national minimum wage came into effect from 1 January 2019, with most workers now entitled to R20 for every ordinary hour worked.

There are, however, certain exceptions to the national minimum wage amount of R20 per hour – one being domestic workers, who are entitled to a minimum wage of R15 per hour.

According to Jacques van Wyk, director and labour law specialist at Werksmans Attorneys, a  “domestic worker” means a worker who performs domestic work in a private household and who received, or is entitled to receive, a wage .

This includes cleaners and gardeners; a person employed by a household as a driver of a motor vehicle; a person who takes care of children, the aged, the sick, the frail or the disabled; and domestic workers employed or supplied by employment services.

How domestic workers need to get paid

While the national minimum wage has set R15 per hour as the minimum for domestic workers, this isn’t necessarily what employers must pay.

A key part of the National Minimum Wage Act stipulates that, where sectoral determinations or collective bargaining has secured a rate higher than the national minimum wage, that figure takes precedence.

With domestic workers, the sectoral determination for the sector (3 December 2018 – 31 December 2018) has minimum wages that range from R12.47 per hour to R16.03 per hour, depending on hours worked and area worked in.

The minimum rates differ according to the geographical area which the domestic worker carries on work, being either “Area A” or “Area B”, and whether they work more or less than 27 hours per week.

In terms of the determination, domestic workers in Area A and Area B who work for more than 27 hours per week, are entitled to a minimum rate of R13.69 per hour and R12.47 per hour respectively.

Similarly, domestic workers in Area B who work 27 hours per week or less are entitled to a minimum rate of R14.72 per hour.

However, domestic workers in Area A who work 27 hours per week or less, are entitled to R16.03 per hour, with effect 3 December 2018. This minimum rate marks an increase to the national minimum wage of R15 applicable to domestic workers.

The Department of Labour has confirmed that the minimum rate of R16.03 will continue to apply to these domestic workers, the rationale being that an employer cannot unilaterally amend an employee’s terms and conditions of employment, including reducing his or her remuneration.

As of 1 January 2019, domestic workers in Area A and Area B who work for more than 27 hours per week, as well as domestic workers in Area B who work for 27 hours per week or less are entitled to R15 as per the National Minimum Wage Act.

Domestic workers in Area A who work for less than 27 hours per week are entitled to R16.03,

The changes are reflected in the table below.

Area A includes: Bergrivier Local Municipality, Breederivier Local Municipality, Buffalo City Local Municipality, Cape Agulhas Local Municipality, Cederberg Local Municipality, City of Cape Town, City of Johannesburg Metropolitan Municipality, City of Tshwane Metropolitan Municipality, Drakenstein Local Municipality, Ekurhulen Metropolitan Municipality, Emalahleni Local Municipality, Emfuleni Local Municipality, Ethekwini Metropolitan Unicity, Garnagara Local Municipality, George Local Municipality, Hibiscus Coast Local Municipality, Karoo Hoogland Local Municipality, Kgatelopele Local Municipality, Khara Hais Local Municipality, Knysna Local Municipality, Kungwini Local Municipality, Kouga Local Municipality, Langeberg Local Municipality Lesedi Local Municipality Makana Local Municipality, Mangaung Local Municipality, Matzikama Local Municipality, Metsimaholo Local Municipality, Middelburg Local Municipality, Midvaal Local Municipality, Mngeni Local Municipality, Mogale Local Municipality, Mosselbaai Local Municipality, Msunduzi Local Municipality, Mtubatu Local Municipality, Nama Khoi Local Municipality, Nelson Mandela, Nokeng tsa Taemane Local Municipality, Oudtshoorn Local Municipality, Overstrand Local Municipality, Plettenbergbaai Local Municipality, Potchefstroom Local Municipality, Randfontein Local Municipality, Richtersveld Local Municipality, Saldanha Bay Local Municipality, Sol Plaatjie Local Municipality, Stellenbosch Local Municipality, Swartland Local Municipality, Swellendam Local Municipality, Theewaterskloof Local Municipality, Umdoni Local Municipality, uMhlathuze Local Municipality and Witzenberg Local Municipality.

Area B includes all those areas not mentioned in Area A.

Read: National minimum wage – everything you need to know

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How much you need to pay your domestic worker with the new national minimum wage