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Homework seminar next week in Durban

The Department of Employment and Labour’s Inspection and Enforcement Services (IES) is hosting a one-day seminar in Durban next week to reflect on progress made to improve working conditions for domestic workers.

The National Minimum Wage Act (NMW) is expected to take center stage.

The seminar follows the announcement by the Minister of Work and Labour, Thulas Nxesi, that the NMW has been increased from R21.69 to R23.19 per hour.

The new rates will come into effect on March 1, 2022.

Of historical importance, the NMW for domestic workers has fallen for the first time in line with other sectors. In addition, domestic workers can now register with the Compensation Fund for Accidents at Work.

Domestic Workers Convention

It has now been over ten years since the International Labor Organization (ILO) adopted the Domestic Workers Convention, 2011 (No. 189). The intent of the Convention is to make decent work a reality for domestic workers.

The ILO’s Decent Work Agenda summarizes people’s aspirations in their working lives.

It is about employment opportunities that are productive and provide a fair income, job security and social protection for families, better prospects for personal development and social integration, freedom for people to voice their concerns, organize and participate to the decisions that affect their lives and equal opportunities and treatment for all women and men.

Labor laws

The seminar is part of the department’s IES arm to educate stakeholders about labor laws and ensure compliance. The domestic worker sector has long been seen as a problematic sector when it comes to compliance with labor laws, with workers still receiving lower wages.

The Ministry of Employment and Labor has carried out several inspections of employers operating in the sector. The inspections were required to establish employers’ compliance with the Basic Working Conditions Act, the enforcement of the Minimum Wage Act – and employers continue to fall short when it comes to compliance.

The results of inspections have shown that there is a need for advocacy.

Some of the areas where non-compliance has been identified in the industry are illegal deductions; underpayment of the national minimum wage; non-compliant written employment data (contracts); long working days and non-registration with the Unemployment Fund and the Compensation for Occupational Accidents and Illnesses Act.

Some of the stakeholders the seminar focuses on are: domestic workers, gardeners, trade unions, organized companies, employers’ associations, organized labor and bargaining councils.

compiled by Narissa Subramoney

READ NOW: Here are the new national minimum wage figures for 2022

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