National minimum wage and how it applies to domestic workers

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Jacques van Wyk | Director and labour law specialist | Werksmans Attorneys | mail me |


The National Minimum Wage Act 9 of 2018 provides for a national minimum wage.

The national minimum wage is R20 for each ordinary hour worked. There are, however, certain exceptions to the national minimum wage amount of R20 per hour. Domestic workers are entitled to a minimum wage of R15 per hour.

Who is a domestic worker?

A ‘domestic worker’ means a worker who performs domestic work in a private household and who received, or is entitled to receive a wage.

A domestic worker includes: a gardener; 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.

The Sectoral Determination 7: Domestic Worker Sector and the Amendment of Sectoral Determination 7: Domestic Worker Sector (published in the Government Gazette of 3 December 2018), determines the applicable minimum rates for the period 3 December 2018 ‘to promulgation of the minimum wage provision contained in the National Minimum Wage Act’, being 1 January 2019.

Area A and Area B

The minimum rates differ according to the geographical area which the domestic worker carries on work, being either ‘Area A’ or ‘Area B’.

In terms of the Amendment of Sectoral Determination 7, 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.

These minimum rates as per the Amendment of Sectoral Determination 7 were the applicable rates for the period 3 December 2018 to 31 December 2018.

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.

The Amendment of Sectoral Determination 7 has, however, created confusion in respect of domestic workers in Area A who work 27 hours per week or less. In terms thereof, these domestic workers 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.

Municipalities in Area A

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.

Municipalities in Area B

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


Jacques van Wyk | Director and labour law specialist | Werksmans Attorneys | mail me |


 

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