Domestic help in Cape Town

The availability and affordable nature of domestic help in Cape Town is one small luxury that most expats should be able to take advantage of if they move to the city.

Employing domestic helpers, nannies and gardeners is common for middle- and upper-class South Africans, and provides much-needed employment in the country's highly unequal society.

While expats are likely to have somebody knocking on their door looking for work at some point, it's important to employ people based on references, either via word of mouth or through advertisements written by former employers. There are also a number of recruitment companies which specialise in domestic staff.

Pay for domestic workers in Cape Town

There are specific rules concerning work hours, overtime, annual leave, unemployment insurance and termination. 2,500 ZAR should be regarded as an absolute minimum for permanent domestic help in Cape Town and a bit more for domestic workers who look after children.

Staff with experience and good references will expect 3,500 ZAR and upwards. Good cooks and competent drivers can also expect more. Live-in staff will expect food and accommodation as part of the package, and live-out staff may expect additional pay to compensate them for travel costs. Daily rates are between 150-250 ZAR depending on the duties expected, and should include at least one meal. Although not an obligation, it is normal for domestic staff to receive a thirteenth check in December as an additional bonus to their regular pay.
Au pairs (which is what better-qualified, usually educated English-speaking, nannies are called) will generally not expect to do general housework but will be responsible for duties associated with children including duties such as shopping, preparing food and tidying their rooms. Au pairs can be expected to charge anything up to 10,000 ZAR per month depending on experience.

Annual leave for domestic workers in Cape Town

Domestic workers in Cape Town are entitled to 15 working days of leave. This is often taken over Christmas, when many South Africans head to other areas of the country to spend time with extended family. Expats should try to agree on dates well in advance.
There are other forms of leave housekeepers in South Africa are entitled to. New mothers are entitled to four months unpaid maternity leave, and the job must be kept open for them should they choose to return. Staff can also request to take leave to attend a funeral of one of their extended family, and the entitlement for compassionate leave is five days a year but domestic employers are usually flexible about this.

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