Domestic Worker minimum wages up since December 2018

08/11: Domestic Worker minimum wages will have an annual rise in December 2018. Currently, the lowest domestic workers wages per hour are either R11.31 or R12.42 depending on hours of work and areas of work. The lowest domestic workers wages are R1562.21 per month.

The Domestic Workers' Act

The Domestic Workers' Act sets out minimum wages for domestics and specifies working conditions such as hours of work, overtime pay, salary increases, deductions, annual and sick leave.

This legislation also lists the urban areas (classified as A Areas) where one minimum wage applies. A second minimum wage applies to domestic workers in non-urban areas (B Areas).

The Domestic Workers’ Act applies to the estimated 1 to 1.5 million workers in the country who work as domestics, gardeners, childminders (including drivers of children) and those who look after the sick, aged or disabled in private homes. The legislation also covers domestic workers who work as independent contractors.


According to the legislation, domestic workers should work no more than 45 hours a week, and should not work more than nine hours a day if they work a five-day week, or more than eight hours a day if they work for more than five days a week.

A Domestic Worker should work no more than 15 hours a week overtime, and no more than three hours on any one day. They should also receive double pay on Sundays or public holidays.

Employers whose domestics live on the property may deduct 10% of their salary for accommodation, providing the accommodation complies with the minimum standards laid down in the legislation.

An employer wishing to dismiss a worker must give a week of notice if the domestic has been employed for six months or less and four weeks' notice if he or she has worked for more than six months.

Domestic helpers are also entitled to severance pay of one week for each year of service, as well as four months' unpaid maternity leave.

All employers must register their employees for the UIF and are advised to sign an employment contract with their domestic worker.

Domestic Workers have the following rights:

  • Work without sexual harassment, physical harm, verbal abuse or exploitation (such as being forced to work overtime without pay)
  • Regular monthly payment of their wages
  • Refer complaints about their employers to the CCMA (Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration)
  • A clear job description as well as written confirmation of their pay, hours, leave and deductions when they start a new job
  • The employer must issue the domestic worker with written particulars of employment, containing the following information:

The full name and address of the employer

The name and occupation of the domestic worker, or a brief description of the work for which he/she is employed

The place of work, and where he/she is required or permitted to work

Date of employment

The domestic worker’s ordinary hours of work and days of work

The domestic worker’s wage or rate and method of payment

The rate of pay for overtime work

Any other cash payments he/she is entitled to

Any payment in kind he/she is entitled to and the value of payment in kind

How frequently wages will be paid

Any deductions to be made from wages

The leave he/she is entitled to

The period of notice required to terminate employment, or if employment is for a specified period, the date when employment is to terminate

  • No one under the age of 15 can be required or permitted to work.

Find out more about Domestic Work in South Africa