Domestic help & child care

Finding domestic help
The safest and most effective way of sourcing good domestic help is by referral from other expatriates, neighbours, associates, or a reputable employment agency. As a domestic worker will have the “run of your home” it is imperative that you ensure you have at least one contactable reference to vouch for her / him.  If you are in any doubt, we strongly recommend that you arrange for a security background check. In addition, please ensure that the domestic worker is a South African citizen or permanent resident by requesting a copy of their identity document. The fine for employing an illegal immigrant is high, and payable by the employer.

There are many formal cleaning service providers:

Conditions of employment – important
Domestic workers are defined as workers who perform any of the following duties in the home of / for an employer:

    • Cleaning the house
    • Looking after children, the disabled, sick or the elderly
    • Gardening
    • Driving.

Find out more about the labour laws of South Africa: or

Medical and pension
All South Africans are entitled to treatment at government medical facilities and the cost for consultations and treatment is minimal – please bear in mind though that queues are long so it may take an entire day to receive treatment. You are not obliged to take employees to your family doctor and/or pick up their medical expenses – if you choose to do so; this is entirely at your discretion. Many South African employers take out a pension plan and adjust their domestic worker’s wages accordingly, this should be discussed in detail with your employee first.

Domestic workers generally fall under the tax threshold (unless of course they earn more than R72 000 per annum /R6 000 per month). 

Registering for UIF (Unemployment Insurance Fund)
As stated above; all domestic workers must be registered with UIF and it is the responsibility of the employer to make the payments to the fund. The simplest way to register is on the website.

Application forms
These are available online or can be collected from any Department of Labour, Provincial office or Labour centre (contacts: Department of Labour: 011 497 3000 / Sandton Labour Centre: 011 444 7631;

  • Employer is required to complete form UI 19 in respect of his employees
  • Employer must register as an employer using form UI 8D

Both the above can be downloaded from the website.

The domestic worker’s contribution is 1% and the employer’s contribution is 1% – equaling 2% of the domestic employee’s cash salary. Employers usually elect to pay their contributions 12 months in advance, however, they may not deduct more than the 1% contribution from the employee’s wages per month.

Dismissing a domestic worker
As for all categories of employees in South Africa, domestic workers are protected by the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and cannot be wrongfully or incorrectly dismissed. This is not to say that you cannot dismiss a domestic worker who is not performing her duties. The correct procedures must be followed:

  • 3 written warnings, detailing areas of poor performance / misdemeanors etc.
  • 1 months’ notice in writing, signed by you and the employee
  • 1 month’s salary – it is not advisable to have the domestic work out her notice period in the event of dismissal, simply pay her the month’s salary and other monies due and allow her to leave
  • Payment of any leave due.