Domestic Employer – Don’t Be Caught for Violation of Labour Laws

Very few Employers of Domestic Workers realize that the Domestic Sector is on par with commercial employers when it comes to compliance with Labour Legislation.

This article will clarify and emphasize the Labour Laws applying to the Domestic Sector and the responsibilities of Employers in this regard.

1.  The SPAR owner who has to pay R11m to staff for labour law violations.

Fin24 reported on 24 February 2020 of a SPAR owner who was found guilty of violations of the Labour Laws.

Why should Employers of Domestic Workers take note of this?

The violations, according to the report of the CCMA were;

  • Failure to issue contracts of employment,
  • Long working hours,
  • No compensation for overtime,
  • No payment for work on Sundays and Public Holidays,
  • Public Holidays not granted according to the Law,
  • Illegal deductions
  • Hiring of illegal foreign nationals.

YESDomestic is in the business of rendering administrative and Labour Law services to Employers of Domestic Workers throughout Republic of South Africa, and we can confirm that many employers are faced with some or all the violations listed above.

2.  Let’s have a look at the individual violations and how Employers of Domestic Workers can avoid this.

2.1 The first general misconception – who are defined as Domestic Workers

When employed in connection with a private household, your domestic cleaner, gardener, nanny, caregiver, chauffeur, are all domestic workers in terms of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and Sectoral Determination 7.

This applies irrespective of the number of days that your worker works for you in your private household.

Only when your domestic worker works less than 24 hours per month, he/she does not have to be registered for UIF.

2.2  The second general misconception – “my domestic worker is a casual worker”.

Many employers are of the opinion that a domestic worker, who does not work full time 5 days per week, is regarded as a casual worker.

This is unfortunately very far from the truth and can cause the employer to commit other violations in terms of the Labour Relations Act, when terminations of employment is challenged at the CCMA, because fair procedures were not followed.

2.3  Failure to issue contracts of employment

YESDomestic finds continuously that employers do not understand the value of a contract of employment, since it is believed that it only protects the domestic worker. (See point 2.4 below as example where an agreement can have benefit).

This is a gross untruth since it is the one time that the employer has the opportunity to protect him/herself and to lay down specific requirements for the domestic worker.

YESDomestic provides professional contracts of employment to all our clients, who first gets the opportunity to peruse a draft before it is made final.

YESDomestic also provides video recording in 6 African languages where the domestic worker is not fully comfortable with the English language.

2.4  Long working hours

Normal working hours are regulated by Sectoral Determination 7 as a maximum of 45 hours per week Mondays to Saturdays, excluding lunch hours.

Lunch break must be at least 60 minutes, unless where a written agreement provides for a lunch break of net less than 30 minutes.

Employers who have live-in domestic workers, generally experience problems in this are when they require longer working hours and does not remunerate their workers accordingly).

2.5  No payment for work on Sundays and Public Holidays,

Payment for working on a Sunday and Public Holidays should be recorded separately on the payslip and cannot be included in a so-called flat rate monthly salary.

The inability of an employer to substantiate the hours worked and the payment for Sundays and/or Public Holidays, will be regarded as a violation.

YESDomestic runs a time keeping system which deals with these requirements as part and parcel of the platform.

2.6  Public Holidays not granted according to the Law
This is also a common mistake that employers make where the Domestic Worker works only specific days for the household.

Where the working day falls on  Public Holiday, many employers believe that it is not necessary to remunerate the worker for the day.

The Act is very specific that if the Public Holiday falls on a day that the Domestic Worker would normally work, the Employer must pay the Domestic Worker.

The Act also makes provision that a Domestic Worker may work on a Public Holiday but then only in accordance with an [written] agreement.

Where the Domestic Worker works on the Public Holiday, the worker must be paid at lest double the daily wage.

The Act does not make provision for time off for work on a Public Holiday.

2.7  Illegal deductions

Employers must be careful not to make deductions from the remuneration of Domestic Workers without a written agreement which complies with  the provisions of the Act.

Also take notice that deduction for accommodation may not exceed 10% of the monthly remuneration of the worker and then only where the accommodation meets the specifications.

2.8  Hiring of illegal foreign nationals
Read our article on foreign nationals also contained in the Resources section of the website.

An illegal foreign national is defined as a foreigner who does not have a legal right to be in the RSA and/or who does not have a Permit to work in the RSA.

PLEASE NOTE – the Employer accepts the responsibility where the Employer employs the foreign national and any foreign national have the same rights as a South African citizen, to refer any dispute or unfair labour practice to the CCMA, despite the fact that the foreign national does not have legal permits to work in RSA.

YESDomestic will ensure that the worker’s permits are verified and proper contract of employment is drafted for the specific circumstances.

Join YESDomestic Now

Our services are online and the following are produced and managed for you;

  • Proper contract of employment
  • UIF Registration
  • Monthly payslips
  • Leave administration
  • System to log leave and absentees
  • Call centre assistance
  • Assistance with disciplinary matter
  • Even handling of disciplinary matters as well as CCMA representation.
  • From as little as R97.25 per month

Contact us on 079 697 4832, visit our website or send as an email on for more information.