New rules for domestic workers in South Africa – what you need to know

 ·21 Jun 2023

The recent inclusion of domestic workers as formal employees under the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act (COIDA) has placed new obligations on employers.

The COIDA broadly provides for compensation for disablement caused by occupational injuries or diseases sustained or contracted by employees during their employment or for death resulting from such injuries or diseases.

Under the newly changed COIDA, a Compensation Fund will start accepting claims from domestic workers and their dependants for injuries or deaths from work-related accidents.

Hedda Schensema, a director in employment law at Cliffe Dekker Hofmeyr (CDH), says the changes mean that an employer of domestic workers must now register them for worker’s compensation.

“An employer is required to register their domestic worker for worker’s compensation. The registration of domestic workers is done by completing the forms, which can be found on the Department of Labour’s website,” said Schensema.

“The completed form, together with the employer’s identity document, must be emailed or delivered to the Compensation Commissioner’s office. Thereafter the employer will be allocated a Compensation Fund registration number.”

Under the new laws, employers will also have to submit a return of earnings every year.

This will determine the assessment tariff, which is the amount to be paid into the Compensation Fund each month.

“An employer is not permitted to deduct any of the domestic worker’s earnings as a contribution to the Compensation Fund,” Schensema said.

Under a recent change by the Department of Labour, the statement of earnings must express amounts paid between March and 30 June 2023 – for the 2022 assessment.

For the 2023 assessment, the relevant period is 28 February 2023 to 31 March 2024.

The annual assessment fee is calculated on workers’ earnings, and an assessment tariff is based on the risks associated with the type of work being done.

According to Schensema, the failure to register the domestic worker for workmen’s compensation may result in a fine being imposed or being prosecuted for an incident at work that has resulted in the domestic worker being injured or killed.


On top of the compensation fund, a domestic worker, who works more than 24 hours a month, must be registered with UIF. Schensema said that an employer is also legally obligated to register a domestic worker with UIF.

She said the process is relatively straightforward because an employer can register an employee in multiple ways.

An employer of a domestic worker can register their employee with the Department of Labour through one of the following methods, said Schensema:

  • Telephonically
  • By email
  • By post
  • By visiting a Labour Centre

Registration of a domestic worker requires the completion of the forms UI-8D and UI-19, which are also available to be downloaded from the Department of Labour’s website.

“The monthly contributions to the UIF are 2% of the domestic workers’ salary per month. The employer and domestic worker each contribute 1%, and it is the responsibility of the employer to deduct the monies from the domestic worker’s salary and to pay the total contribution of 2% to the UIF.”

Payments to the UIF must be made before the 7th of every month, added the law expert.

“The failure to register the domestic worker for UIF, will result in an employer being liable for all the outstanding UIF contributions (including the domestic worker’s contributions), as the employer will not be permitted to deduct these monies from the domestic worker’s salary,” said Schensema.

Interest will further be calculated on the outstanding amounts, and the employer may have a penalty of 10% imposed on the unpaid amount.

Read: New laws for state bank and pension changes sent to Ramaphosa to be signed

Show comments
Subscribe to our daily newsletter