Keeping up with the law on employing domestic workers

Some employers of domestic workers are still unsure about exactly how to go about registering their employees with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and how to pay contributions to the fund.

Keep within the law on employing a domestic worker

By: Charlene Clayton

Some employers of domestic workers are still unsure about exactly how to go about registering their employees with the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF) and how to pay contributions to the fund.

The government set up the UIF to provide financial relief for all workers during periods of unemployment, including unemployment relating to illness, maternity and adoption. The fund falls under the Department of Labour.

The benefits paid from the fund are based on the income of the contributing worker and range between 38 to 58 percent of their earnings prior to becoming unemployed.

The UIF legislation defines a domestic worker as an employee who performs domestic work in the home and his or her employer became liable for contributions to the fund from April 1, 2003. This will be the start of your employee’s membership of the fund even if you employed him or her before this date.

If you employ a domestic worker, the first step is to register as an employer with the Department of Labour. If you employ more than one domestic worker, you need only register as an employee once.

If your domestic worker also works for other people, it s those employers’ responsibility to ensure that they and the domestic worker are registered.

The Act requires that employers provide with certain details about their employees.Benefits can only be paid to unemployed workers whose details are recorded on the fund’s database. If you fail to supply the fund with your employee’s details, you will not only contravene the law, but could be responsible for the hardship your worker will endure if he or she loses his or her job and a UIF claim is delayed because his or her details are not registered.

After registering your domestic worker, you must ensure that the fund is advised when that worker leaves your service or if there are any other changes in his or her details. For example, if there is a change in the wages he or she earns or the number of days he or she works.

Contributions to the UIF are calculated at a rate of two percent of the gross monthly earnings of domestic workers. Employers are responsible for payment of the full two percent but may deduct one percent from a worker’s earnings. So, if your worker earns R1 000 per month, you and your worker can each contribute R10 a month but you are responsible for R20 a month.

HOW TO REGISTER

 

There are four ways to register as an employer, a UIF spokesperson says:

1.Submit the details online on the UIF website. Go to www.labour.gov.za and select “UIF Homepage”. Apply for a password and a logon name. It will take about 48 hours for your password and logon name to be activated.

2.Download forms from the UIF website. Use form UI8D to register as an employer and form UI9D to register your domestic worker. The downloaded forms can be completed and emailed as an attachment to domestics@uif.gov.za. You can also fax or mail the downloaded forms. See details in points 3 and 4.

3.Have the forms faxed to you. Dial 086 712 2000 from your fax machine and follow the verbal instructions. The forms will be sent to your fax machine and once you have filled in the details, fax them back to 086 713 3000.

4. Post the completed forms to UIF, Pretoria, 0052

AFTER REGISTRATION

You will receive confirmation that you have been registered with the fund and will be given a reference number. You will also receive confirmation that your domestic worker has been registered.

HOW TO MAKE DECLARATIONS

You can choose one of three methods to make declarations about your domestic worker. You only need to make these declarations if there has been a change in information about your employee.

1. Manual declarations can be made by obtaining the form UI19 and posting it to UIF, Pretoria, 0052 or faxing the form to (012) 337 1631/1929/1941/1942/1943/1944.

2. Electronic declarations can be made by employers who make use of an electronic payroll system.

3. Declarations can also be made online on the UIF website.

4. Email the form to enquiries@uif.co.za

HOW TO PAY CONTRIBUTIONS

Each month you will receive a return from (UI 7) to complete and submit together with the contribution due. It is your duty, as an employer of a domestic worker, to calculate the amount due to the fund.

Contributions are payable monthly and must reach the fund within sevend days of the end of the month for which the contributions are due. If you payment is late, irrespective of whether you received a return to fill in, you will be liable for penalties and interest. If you do not receive a return form on a regular basis, contact the UIF.

Instead of paying monthly you can also pay for the year upfront, but other irregular payments are not permitted. If you pay annually, you must pay for the financial year starting March 1 to the end of February the next year in a single payment within seven days after the beginning of that financial year. However, you are not allowed to deduct your domestic worker’s share of the total contribution from his or her earnings upfront.

 

If your annual payment falls short of what is ultimately due, you must pay the outstanding amount as soon as possible.

There are three ways to make payment to the UIF:

1. By cheque or money/postal order in favour of the UIF and posted to UIF, Pretoria, 0052, or sent to any provincial government office or labour centre of the Department of Labour.

2. Directly into a bank account of the UIF. Use the following accounts:

FNB (Domestic Employers Only)

Account No: 62052400547

Branch code: 253145

ABSA

Account No: 4055481088

Branch code: 323145

STANDARD BANK

Account No: 010032185

Branch code: 0045

(CDI number for domestic employers is 0068730083641)

NEDBANK

Account No: 1454041560

Branch code: 145405

3. By internet banking. Set up an account payment to the fund using one of the above bank accounts. Alternatively ask you bank to help you set up the payment.

Make sure that your employer reference number is used for any deposits. You will obtain an employer reference number after you have registered as an employer.

The Sunday Times, January 10, 2004

What the law says about annual increases

By: Charlene Clayton

There is a great deal of confusion about the compulsory increase which domestic workers were entitled to as from the beginning of November last year and which will apply again in November this year.

People are confused about what happens when they have already given their domestic worker an increase and when the worker already earns more than the minimum wage.

The Sectoral Determination for Domestic Workers states tat employers should have given their domestic workers a salary increase of eight percent on November 1, 2003. On November 1 this year, an increase of eight percent must again be given.

Anna-Marie van Zyl, the executive manager of the employment standards at the Department of Labour, says that this means that all domestic workers were entitled to an eight percent increase at the beginning of November last year and will again be entitled to an eight percent increase in November this year, irrespective of whether they are currently being paid the minimum wage or more than the minimum wage.

Even if you employed your domestic worker a month or two before November last year when the increase was to take place, you should have given your domestic worker an increase, Van Zyl says.

If, however, you gave your domestic worker an increase in the year preceding November 1, 2003 (that is, sometime between November 1, 2002 to October 31, 2003) and your contract with your domestic stipulates a date, other than November 1, on which your worker will be entitled to an annual increase, you are not expected to give your domestic worker a second increase, she says.

Domestic workers are entitled to receive minimum hourly wages which vary depending on the area in which you live. The rate for cities is slightly higher that the rate of rural towns.

The minimum wage depends on the area in which the domestic worker is employed as well as whether he or she works for more or for less than 27 hours a week.

For further information on minimum wages and other legal obligations towards your domestic worker, visit the websites of the Department of Labour (www.labour.gov.za) and the Unemployment Insurance Fund (www.uif.gov.za).

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