"We can't exploit people on the pretext that half a loaf is better than nothing": Readers respond to the minimum rates for domestic workers and nannies
Opinions galore! Here's what Parent24 readers had to say about the minimum rates for domestic workers and nannies set for 2019 and beyond.
How on earth can a person survive on the minimum wage? (iStock)
Source

It's official, the National Minimum Wage Bill has been signed into law and will come into effect on 1 January 2019. 

We published updated information on what the new National Minimum Wage Bill will mean for the domestic worker sector, and judging by the response received, it's clearly a topic that many feel passionate about. 

While some consider the new NMW good news, others see it as a work in progress and still a very low wage. 

There were also those who admitted that despite an inability to pay the NMW, their domestic worker agreed to work for the lower fee out of desperation. 

Interesting is putting it mildly, here's a look at our readers' opinions on the NMW:  


What's your opinion on the National Minimum Wage? Tell us your take by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  


"I pay her R300 for 4 hours work and send her home with bread and chicken, sometimes goodies for the children"

"I am a pensioner and have a lady come in twice a month to clean for me. I pay her R 300 for 4 hours work and send her home with bread and chicken, sometimes goodies for the children. 

My son and his partner live in Australia and pay her two grandchildren's stationery, school trips and monthly school fees. 

Work is scarce and she has been trying to find extra jobs for a few years. 

How on earth can a person survive on the minimum wage? With the cost of travel etc, it is impossible and inhumane. 

I do hope that more people will consider what the costs are and do the right thing." 

Regards, 

Reinette Scheepers 

'I wish I was rich enough'

"Most of our bills go unpaid in order to accommodate her wage" 

"My husband and I are pensioners and cannot afford to have domestic help but the helper has agreed to work for us until she finds full-time employment in an office or any other work.

My daughter helps pay for her services.  

She does not want to be a domestic for too long but needs a little income to help in the interim. 

She has applied for employment for several positions and works part-time when the need arises for the ICC. As soon as any position becomes available she will leave immediately, hence the reason she has not been registered.

We assist her by sending out CVs but we feel bad however as we pay her only R1800 pm. We won't be able to do this for too much longer as our budget is extremely limited. She is very dependent on us and we are helpless and most of our bills are unpaid in order to accommodate her wage. 

What do we do? Praying and hoping she finds employment soon. 

Kind regards, 

YN

"We can't exploit people on the pretext that half a loaf is better than nothing"

He continues:"We can't exploit people on the pretext that half a loaf is better than nothing. You'll be the first to strike if your employer says I'm slashing your salary by 50% because I can no longer afford any more than that. So why should other humans settle for peanuts?"

Tax-deductible

"If the government is serious about the minimum wage for domestic workers, they should make it tax deductible. Imagine having already been taxed, and then having to pay wages out of that."

Anonymous

"We pay our domestic R1000 pm, she only works one day a week" 

Also see: We should be giving our nannies and domestic workers more than just the minimum wage

"We were already paying our domestic R20 per hour 2 years ago"

"It is a shame that the minimum wage for domestic workers is less than R20 per hour. When we left SA two years ago we already paid our domestic R20 per hour and on top of that, we paid her travelling costs in full." 

"'I'm in the UK and the minimum wage is £7.83 an hour... over 22 days, that's R23 427.36'"

He continues: "I'll give you an example of where I am. I'm in the UK and the minimum wage is £7.83 an hour. If I was to employ a domestic helper for 8 hours a day, that would be £62.64 per day. That translates to R1064.88 per day. Over 22 days, that's R23427.36. I can't afford it, therefore, I do everything myself. I've learnt to manage without the help." 

"Address the real issues"

"The problem here is this:

We are trying to fix the real problem by implementing workarounds like these. In the first place let me say that I agree that people cannot live on these pathetic wages.

So what is the problem?  How can one person work 8 hours and earn R3500 a month and the next person works 8 hours and earns R3.5 million a year? The gap between the top and bottom is just too big.

I am a small farmer and I had to let my worker go as I could not afford this payment. 

My profits were just not enough as I had to compete with subsidized imported products. Fix this.

Address the real issues. Do not implement workarounds to address them.

Regards,

Maarten Kruger

"Most people desperately requiring the services of a housekeeper are struggling to get by themselves"

She continues: "I cannot imagine how hard it must be to make ends meet when you consider what so many earn, and contrary to popular belief, they (domestic workers) do need to pay for electricity, water and if they have RDP houses, rates; however that said, most people desperately requiring the services of a housekeeper, are those working long hours, putting kids through school, who struggle to find time for household chores and struggling to get by themselves, in a perfect world R5k would be amazing, but the reality is that there are a LOT of people barely earning more than 5k themselves - and if you had to enforce a salary of 5k, many housekeepers would be unemployed as people would simply not be able to afford it. The solution is to only have someone to assist on as many days per month you are able to afford a decent wage, I do believe that the alternative, very sadly will very quickly escalate our unemployment figures. It is an extremely tough problem to address."

What's your opinion? Tell us your take by emailing to chatback@parent24.com and we could publish your letter. Do let us know if you'd like to stay anonymous.  

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