Q: Is my housekeeper entitled to an annual increase?

I have a full-time housekeeper who’s been with us since October 2014. She didn’t get an increase in January 2015 because I’d only just employed her. Then this year I told her that she won’t be getting an increase from me due to the fact that I didn’t get an increase from my employer and things are a little tight. She gets paid R1900,00 per month, which is the most that I can afford and anyways is more than the minimum wage for housekeepers in the Durban area (I checked when I employed her). Plus she doesn’t really do that much – I don’t have kids, the house is small and it’s only myself, my husband and my mother living there. Now my housekeeper is continually complaining that she doesn’t earn enough. Is my housekeep entitled to an annual increase?  

original employement contracts

A:

Domestic helpers must not be paid less than the minimum wages set out annually by the Department of Labour in terms of Sectoral Determination 7. The minimum amount that you’d be required to pay her depends on two things:

  • Her place of employment;
  • The number of hours per week that she’s required to work.

You cannot take into account the size of the house, extent of duties, or number of residents in the house when calculating a domestic worker’s minimum wage. In addition, it’s important to realise that the legislative minimum wage for domestic workers increases annually, with the amount of the increase linked to CPI.

In 2016 a full-time domestic worker employed in Durban would be entitled to earn no less than R2 230,70* per month. You would therefore need to give your housekeeper an increase so that her salary is no less than the legislative minimum wage amount.

*Applicable from 01 December 2015 to 30 November 2016

You should also consider recording your housekeeper’s appointment in writing, if you haven’t already.

Please note that this information is supplied for general information and does not constitute legal advice. It is advisable for you to contact a legal practitioner for guidance in respect of your unique requirements.

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