Domestic workers still vulnerable despite new minimum wage – Simply
More than 1-million people in South Africa are employed as domestic workers, making up more than 7% of the black South African workforce. Although these women and men perform a key role in our economy, they remain extremely vulnerable. Our soon-to-be-new-client, Simply Financial Services, has a solution that could help to lessen the burden.
“Despite the new minimum wages that came into effect on 1 December 2016, many domestic workers still work from paycheque to paycheque simply to put food on the table for their families,” says Simply’s Anthony Miller. “In many instances, they are the main or sole breadwinners for an extended three-generation family.”
The prescribed minimum wages vary, with the highest set at just over R2 400 per month.
“That R2 400 has to feed, clothe, house and transport not only the worker him- or herself, but also their dependants,” says Miller. “The hope is that employers pay their domestic workers above minimum wage, but not every household can afford to. In fact, the economy shed 45 000 domestic worker jobs at the start of 2016 due to economic pressures.”
Fortunately, employment numbers for domestic workers have gone up during the year.
“By the end of the third quarter 2016 we saw employment rates returning to about where they were at the end of 2015. But workers in this sector, and their families, are still extremely susceptible to even the slightest change in the local economy.”
Miller says very few domestic workers have adequate measures in place to protect their dependants in case of a tragedy.
“Given their precarious financial situation, domestic workers simply do not have the means to afford life insurance,” he says. “If disaster strikes in the form of death or disability, chances are their dependants will be left destitute.”
Thankfully there are solutions out there to assist the families of domestic workers in case of death or disability.
“For less than R100 a month, you can get life, disability and funeral cover for your domestic workers,” explains Miller. “Sign-up can be done online in less than 15 minutes per employee. Plus there are no medical test required, just a few basic questions health questions.”
Miller says a domestic worker policy not only provides peace of mind for your employee, but also serves as a loyalty benefit.
“Providing benefits such as these not only applies in the corporate workplace, but also at domestic level,” he says. “Staff loyalty in all environments tends to go up when employers add value in any way. A domestic worker policy shows that you care for your employee and his or her family.”