What are the Rights of Domestic Workers in South Africa in 2021?

Domestic Workers Rights

For centuries, domestic work has been perceived as an inferior form of employment. As a result, domestic worker’s legal rights have been subsequently ignored and disregarded by many employers. By law, all employees who work 24 hours or more per month are entitled to unemployment insurance. However, in South Africa more than 300 000 domestic workers are not registered for UIF therefore, if they were to lose their employment, they would not be remunerated for their loss.

According to Section 23 of the Constitution ‘Everyone has the right to fair labour practices, which places a legal duty on all employers to register their domestic worker with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). It is required of both the employee and employer to individually pay an amount equal to 1% of the employee’s monthly wage.

Additionally, domestic workers have many other rights under the Constitution of South Africa, some of which include:

  • A notice period and termination;
  • Minimum wage;
  • Hours of work;
  • Meal intervals;
  • Work on Sundays and public holidays;
  • Annual leave;
  • Sick leave;
  • Maternity leave;
  • Family responsibility; and
  • Deduction from remuneration.

South Africa has reached a milestone in respect of the minimum wage for domestic workers. Employment and Labour Minister, Mr Thulas Nxesi published a new minimum wage in the Government Gazette 44136. The minimum wage for domestic workers in South Africa was announced on the 8th of February 2021. In 2018, the minimum wage for domestic workers was granted at R 15.00 per hour. On the 8th of February 2021, the Minister announced that the minimum wage for domestic workers has increased by R 4.09, leaving South African domestic workers at a minimum wage of R 19.09 per hour which took effect from the 1st of March 2021.

Regardless of the milestone reached, the minimum wage of domestic workers is still below the National minimum wage. The National minimum wage passed into law in 2021 is without a doubt an achievement for South Africa, however, many unscrupulous employers refuse to pay their domestic workers correctly and/or register them for UIF.


Should you require any assistance in respect of domestic workers and their rights do not hesitate to contact BBP Law Inc.


Bashierah Pathan
Candidate Attorney

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