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Understanding your nanny's rights

Joan McBride
Now that you’ve found the perfect person to look after your baby, do you know what their legal rights are?
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Your nanny’s rights
  • If a nanny works for more than one employer, each employer must register her separately.
  • Your domestic worker has the right to work in a safe environment, free from sexual harassment, physical harm, verbal abuse or exploitation.
  • She is entitled to be paid a minimum wage and an annual increase as set in the annual Sectorial Determination 7 for Domestic Workers.
  • Medical insurance, loans, pension contributions, etc. are allowed to be deducted from her wages, but the total amount cannot be more than 10% of her total monthly salary.
  • Money cannot be deducted from wages for breakages, damages, meals during working hours, uniforms and work equipment. In South Africa, 45 hours is a standard working week – any hours she works over that must be paid at the overtime rate of 1½  times the usual salary.
  • If your domestic worker works for less than four hours on a particular day, she must be paid for a minimum of four hours.
  • If she usually works on Sundays, she should be paid at 1½ times her usual hourly rate. But if she doesn’t normally work on a Sunday and you ask her to, she must be paid twice the usual hourly rate.
  • Your domestic worker shouldn’t be asked to work more than three hours a day or 15 hours a week overtime. And you must give her a rest period of 12 hours in a row every 24 hours as well as 36 hours together at least once a week.
  • She is also entitled to a meal break of one hour if she works for more than five hours in a row. Your domestic worker can’t be forced to work on a public holiday. However, if she agrees to, she must be paid double wages.
  • She is also entitled to annual leave of 3 weeks a year - paid at her normal rate.
  • During the first six months of the job, your domestic worker has the right to one day of paid sick leave for every 26 days she has worked. Over a period of 3 years she has the right to paid sick leave that is equal to the amount of days she usually works over six weeks.
  • She is entitled to four months unpaid maternity leave. She should be able to claim UIF maternity benefits for 17 weeks.
  • ·She is also entitled to five days of paid family responsibility leave a year, to be used when her child is sick, for example, or when a family member passes away.
  • Your domestic worker must be given at least four weeks’ notice of dismissal if she has been working for you for over six months, or 1 week’s notice if less.
Understanding UIF
The Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) provides short-term relief to workers who have been contributing to the UIF. This applies when they become unemployed because of illness, adoption or maternity leave, and also provides relief to the dependants of a deceased contributor.

If you employ someone and give them remuneration either in cash or in kind, you must register with the UIF as soon as the person starts working for you. As an employer, you are responsible to register as an employer with the UIF and make the necessary deductions from your employee’s pay. This pay includes all money that your nanny receives from you, whether in cash or in kind. It includes overtime and bonuses and all kinds of allowance for travel, food and accommodation.

In order to make the contribution to the UIF, you and your nanny must register with the fund and you will then be given your UIF employer reference number. This number is linked to your employee so that there is proof that your nanny is contributing, in case they need to make a claim. The consequences of not meeting this requirement include penalties with interest, imprisonment or both.

Contributions to UIF
Your nanny must contribute 1% of her monthly remuneration. In addition, you as her employer also need to contribute 1% of her monthly remuneration. Therefore a total contribution of 2% is paid to the UIF. For example, if your nanny earns R2000 per month, she will contribute 1% (R10) and you as her employer will also pay 1% (R10). This means that a total amount of R20 is paid over to the UIF for your nanny. You can only deduct contributions for the current month and you are not allowed to deduct more than one month’s contributions.

How to pay UIF
The contributions must be paid to the UIF before the 7th day of every month. If the7th day is on a Saturday, Sunday or Public Holiday, then the payment must be paid on or before the last business day before the 7th day. The payment can be made via debit order, direct bank deposit or electronically. Services like My Claim Mate also handle the whole process for you, so you don’t have to worry about it.

Ensuring that you understand your nanny’s rights and your responsibilities as an employer is an important part of finding the right person to look after your baby. Were you aware of these rights?

If you need any assistance setting up your UIF employer account, contact our friends at UIF-Hero. 
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