Welcome to Scorpion’s Legal Tips! Every week we’ll share stories of injustice
and show you how you can strike back legally.
Domestic workers, and the hours they can be expected to work by law, are covered under Sectoral Determination 7: Domestic Worker Sector. However, sometimes, domestic workers aren’t sure if the rules change when they’re a live-in worker, or if their employer can ask them to work at night and how they get paid for this, along with a range of other questions about the rights of domestic workers. Scorpion Legal Protection discusses what the law says about working hours, overtime pay and night work.
It’s important to note that your rights as a domestic worker are the same whether you are a live-in worker or go home every night to a separate residence. However, if you are a live-in worker, your employer could ask you to work longer hours or at night, and this could complicate things. We’ll explain your rights below.
Wages for domestic workers increased in the new national minimum wage. View the gazette here.
Normal working hours do not include overtime.
A domestic worker may not be made to:
A domestic worker may not work more than 15 hours overtime per week. You also cannot be asked to work more than 12 hours on any one day, including overtime. This means you can only be asked to work overtime of 3 hours per day (5 days x 3 hours overtime = 15 hours), and you do not have to agree to this. Your employer cannot force you to work overtime.
Overtime must be paid at 1.5 times the employee’s normal wage or an employee may agree to receive paid time-off. There are three options:
Night work means work performed after 6pm and before 6am the next day, for example, if your employer asks you to work at night to clean up after dinner or a party.
If this is overtime work, and you have already worked your full day, then you must be paid 1.5 times your normal hourly rate for those hours and you may not work more than 3 hours overtime for that day. If you have not worked a full day, for example, the employer asks you to work at night on a day you would normally not work, then you and your employer can work out a rate, but the employer does not have to pay you 1.5 times your normal rate because it will not be overtime work.
Transport should be available between the domestic worker’s place of residence and the workplace at the beginning and end of the domestic worker’s shift for night work.
Stand-by work is when your employer asks you to be available if needed but you are not actually on duty, for example, your employer may need you to help take care of their children but hasn’t actually asked you to help yet, they want you to be available just in case. Stand-by work is from 8pm to 6am. It works the same as overtime work in terms of pay – you must be paid 1.5 times your normal hourly rate or get paid time off (by agreement).
An employee is not allowed to be on standby more than 5 times per month or 50 times per year.
* This is only basic advice and cannot be relied on solely. The information is correct at the time of being sent to publishing.
Date added: 10 March 2021