Legislation to be extended to cover domestic workers

Pretoria – South Africa’s domestic workers will soon be covered by the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases (Coida) Act, Labour Minister Mildred Oliphant said on Saturday.

The minister, who held a Domestic Worker Imbizo at the Grace Bible Church in Soweto on Saturday, said the Act was currently undergoing a Parliamentary review and would be passed in the near future.

The Unemployment Insurance Act was also being reviewed.

Minister Oliphant said the review would include extending benefits to workers when going on maternity leave and extending the claim period and the benefit’s timeframe.

The Minister said a number of public hearings were planned on the review of the laws and appealed to the domestic workers to participate in them.

She urged domestic workers to register for unemployment insurance benefits at labour centres, saying these benefits extend to both South African and legal foreign nationals working locally as domestic workers.

In terms of the Sectoral Determination that governs the minimum wages of domestic workers and the conditions of employment for workers in the sector, especially those who work in major metropolitan areas and work
over 45 hours a week, the minimum wage per month is currently fixed at R1877.70 until 30 November 2014.

South Africa has 663 331 registered domestic workers, although there is a far higher number of domestic workers employed in the country.

The Minister said the department’s inspectorate would have to up its game and ensure that domestic workers are registered and afforded worker rights.