domestic guardians

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Frequently Asked Questions

Answers to Frequently Asked Questions - FAQs

Annual Leave

This is Twenty One (21) Consecutive days. An employer may not require or permit a worker to work during any period of annual leave. Leave must be granted not later than 6 months after the end of the annual leave cycle (12 month periods from date of employment).Employers cannot pay workers instead of granting leave, except on termination of employment. A Public Holiday cannot count as Annual Leave. Study Leave-Employees should apply for Annual Leave for purposes of studying as there is no separate provision for Study.

Maternity Leave

Pregnant women may take 4 months of maternity leave, starting 1 month before their due date or as agreed or required for health reasons. This does not apply to domestic workers working less than 24 hours a month for an employer. A worker who is pregnant or nursing may not do work that is unsafe for her or her child.


Sick Leave

An employee is entitled to 6 weeks’ paid sick leave in a period of 36 months. However, during the first 6 months of employment, workers are only entitled to 1 day’s paid sick leave for every 26 days worked. Employers may request Proof of Illness by way of a medical certificate which may be provided by a medical practitioner, clinic nurse, traditional healer, community health worker or psychologist before paying workers who are absent for more than 2 consecutive days or who are often absent (more than twice in an 8-week period). Fees that are paid for medical treatment by an employer may be deducted from the workers’ pay.


Family Responsibility Leave

Full time workers may take 5 days of paid family responsibility leave during each annual leave cycle (12 month periods from date of employment). Family responsibility leave expires at the end of the annual cycle. Employees may take family responsibility leave when a child is born, when child is sick, death of a spouse or life partner, parent or adoptive parent, grandparent, child or adopted child, grandchild, sibling. Employers may require reasonable proof of the birth, illness or death for which a worker requests leave.


Working Hours per Week

 Domestic workers are allowed to work a maximum of 45 ordinary hours per week

  1. Maximum of 9 hours per day if working for 5 days a week
  2. Maximum of 8 hours per day if working more than 5 days a week


Calculation of Overtime

Overtime is payable when the domestic worker works longer than the ordinary hours prescribed per day or per week. Overtime payment: one and a half (1.5) times the hourly wage. Alternatively Employee may agree to receive paid time off. Workers may not work: overtime, unless by agreement, more than 10 hours’ overtime a week (collective agreement may increase this to 15 hours per week for up to 2 months a year), more than 12 hours on any day.


Permissible Wage deductions

Medical insurance, Savings, Pension fund, Trade union subscription, Order of account payment to a financial institution, Rentals, Loan or advance (not more than 10% of total wage), Deductions for accommodation (not more than 10% of total wage)


 Impermissible Wage deductions

Amount greater than the actual remuneration received, Breakages (crockery, electrical appliances), Damages (ironing), Meals provided during working time, Clothing, Work equipment


Basic Guide to Termination (Domestic Workers)

Certain procedures must be followed when either an employer or worker wishes to terminate employment. Notice must be given in writing, except when it is given to an illiterate worker.


Notice Period

Worker employed for…

Notice Period

6 months or less

1 week

More than 6months

4 weeks

An employer and worker may agree to a longer notice period. Notice of termination may not be given during any period of leave entitled to a worker, except sick leave.

Pay Instead of Notice

Employers may decide to waive the notice period, but the worker must still be paid for the notice period.


Payment on Termination

On termination of employment the employer must pay a worker all monies due to the worker: wages, allowance or other payments and paid time off.


Accommodation on Termination

If an employer terminates the contract of employment before a date on which the employer is entitled to, they are required to provide 1 month accommodation until the contract is lawfully terminated.


Severance Pay

Retrenched workers (dismissed due to employer’s operational requirements or insolvency) are entitled to 1 week’s severance pay for every year of service.



More Knowledge

Labour Laws and HIV & AIDS.
    • 1.       No person may be unfairly discriminated against on the basis of their HIV status. No person may unfairly discriminate against an employee, or an applicant for employment, in any employment policy or practice, on the basis of his or her HIV status. In any legal proceedings in which it is alleged that any employer has discriminated unfairly, the employer must prove that any discrimination or differentiation was fair.
    • 2.       No employee, or applicant for employment, may be required by their employer to undergo an HIV test in order to ascertain their HIV status. HIV testing by or on behalf of an employer may only take place where the Labour Court has declared such testing to be justifiable.
    • 3.       An employee with HIV/AIDS may not be dismissed simply because he or she is HIV positive or has AIDS. However where there are valid reasons related to their capacity to continue working and fair procedures have been followed, their services may be terminated in accordance with the Law.
    • 4.       An employer is obliged to provide, as far as is reasonably practicable, a safe workplace. This may include ensuring that the risk of occupational exposure to HIV is minimised by: Having an HIV/AIDS & STDs awareness programmes, education and training, encouraging voluntary testing, enforce the use of universal infection control measures, create an environment that is conducive to openness, disclosure and acceptance amongst all staff, provide access to counselling and other forms of social support for people affected by HIV/AIDS.
    • 5.       An employee, who is infected with HIV as a result of an occupational exposure to infected blood or bodily fluids, may apply for benefits and Compensation.
    • 6.       All persons with HIV or AIDS have a right to privacy, including privacy concerning their HIV or AIDS status. Accordingly there is no general legal duty on an employee to disclose his or her HIV status to their employer or to other employees.

    Certificate of Service

    On termination of employment, workers are entitled to a certificate of service. The certificate of service must state-

    1. 1.Domestic worker’s full name
    2. 2. Name and address of the employer
    3. 3 Date of commencement and termination of employment
    4. 4. Title of job and brief description of work
    5. 5. Any relevant training received
    6. 6. Pay received at termination
    7. 7. Reason for termination (if requested by the worker)
    Unfair Dismissals.
    Workers who feel they have been unfairly dismissed should contact the CCMA.



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