If You Have A Domestic Worker or Gardener Then You Are Vulnerable…

GardenerNo domestic bliss without legal cover

It’s crazy, but South Africans are still very lax when it comes to knowing about the legal rights of domestics or gardeners they employ. The rules regarding these issues are quite clear and are available to download from the home office department.

However, rules also fall into very grey areas when it comes to domestic workers, so it’s vital you link up with Right Cover when you sign on any employee. You as the employer have rights as well which you must be aware of.

All too well, there are stories about employees who are kind and considerate who are being taken advantage of.

Could it be coming to ‘Apocalypse Now’?

Sometimes, employees ask to loan money, and when this is deducted from their monthly wage, it could turn into a scene from “Apocalypse Now”. This is even after it has been very carefully explained that this would happen at month-end.

Another one: health issues. After proclaiming that he or she is completely fit and able at the interview stage, there could be times aplenty when there are times of alleged life-threatening issues which seem to miraculously disappear overnight – and after a day’s work is lost.

More missing time: a big issue in South Africa is the funeral. This is not just any old funeral. This is the funeral. In fact, every funeral is the funeral. Not being disrespectful, but if you’ve ever been caught up in one of these on the roads, you’ll know all about it. All this for someone who is someone’s cousin twice removed.

Funerals taken very seriously

To employees, this may sound like a big ploy. It isn’t, most of the time. The African people take funerals very seriously and you would do well to heed this.

While we may not pay any call to a second cousin twice removed (even if we actually knew of such a person), to the indigenous folk, this is of great importance. If your domestic worker asks for time off to attend the funeral, give her the permission to do so. To ask her or him to validate the event is impossible.

If, however, this happens every week (and it has been known to), you must put in boundaries somewhere. This is where things could definitely get tricky. You say will have to start deducting pay for time off and be very firm about it. People being people can start taking advantage, you just must know when to start calling a halt. How to balance the good with the ugly? With difficulty.

Get legal advice on how to proceed

Of course, the whole other matter is if it’s a funeral which would require the absence of your worker for a week or so to some rural area you’ve never heard of. Here, you must ask for validation and insist on it. If this happens regularly, you will need sound advice on how to proceed.

The other big no-no is theft. In most workplaces, this is grounds for dismissal. Again, with domestic workers, it’s a very fluid situation, and one which requires legal assistance.

This is readily available, and advisable, from Right Cover, who are the experts in this field. The team of professionals will help and guide you in all instances regarding your domestic workers including gardeners. For a very small fee, we are on hand 24/7 to assist you in all these issues.

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