SERI and Izwi have written a new guide, called “Employing a Domestic Worker: a legal and practical guide”, for employers of domestic workers in South Africa to inform them of their rights and obligations in the employment relationship and to provide practical advice and support to assist them in improving their employment practices.
Domestic workers are an essential part of how many families operate. The child and homecare they provide contributes to the national economy by enabling others to carry out their own jobs. Domestic workers, over 95% of whom are women, are primary breadwinners for hundreds of thousands of families. Yet they often lack recognition as real workers and work under unfair conditions.
Many employers are unaware of the laws which regulate the domestic employment relationship, and domestic workers are often afraid to approach them. For example, although the law requires all employers to register their domestic workers for UIF, only about 20% of employers have done so.
The user-friendly guide provides legal advice and guidelines on how to begin and manage the domestic employment relationship. It provides guidance on the interview process, the terms of employment from the Basic Conditions of Employment Act (like working hours, overtime and leave), the requirements of the written particulars of employment and on maintaining a mutually beneficial relationship. The guide also provides information on the rights and responsibilities of both parties at the end of the employment relationship under the law and guidance on how to create a fair workplace, addressing issues such as fair wages, social protections, pensions and other benefits. It ends with Frequently Asked Questions and appends the legal framework informing the guide as well as sample documents to which the guide refers (written particulars of employment, the payslip and the certificate of service).
“We created this guide because we want employers to recognise that their homes are workplaces. We want to provide them with the support required to create a fair and mutually beneficial working environment for both employer and employee”- Kelebogile Khunou, SERI researcher
See also a companion guide: “Domestic Workers’ Rights: a legal and practical guide” and fact sheets on UIF and COIDA.
 Statistics South Africa, Quarterly Labour Force Survey: Quarter 1, 2021.
 International Labour Organisation, “Making decent work a reality for domestic workers: Progress and prospects ten years after the adoption of the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189).” 15 June 2021.