By Sanette VIljoen
The Minister of Trade and Commerce, Ebrahim Patel, as well as the Minister of Labour, Thulas Nxesi, declared that domestic workers may start working again on Monday, 1 June 2020, subject to the level 3 regulations. However, this may only take place if the employer applies the necessary and adequate safety precautions.
According to the regulations published in the Government Gazette of 28 May 2020 the onus rests with employers to ensure that the working environment in their house is safe. You, as the employer, must also provide all the necessary products and equipment to protect your and your domestic’s safety.
Regulation 46(3) stipulates that the relevant health protocols and social-distancing measures must be applied in the case of persons who work in private residences. These protocols include, inter alia, but are not limited to, disinfectants for the house and hands, masks, work uniforms and personal protective equipment. It is the employer’s responsibility to provide all these and to make sure that they are used correctly.
Employers may also insist that the domestic wear the equipment before she may enter your house.
Employers must see to it that their domestic worker is checked daily in accordance with the health and safety regulations of the Department of Labour. The onus further also rests with the employer to train himself or herself with regard to the Department’s health and safety regulations. The regulations state specifically that employees, including your domestic worker, must be monitored daily for symptoms of Covid-19. This monitoring may include checking her temperature before she enters your house, as well as a list of questions, e.g.: Are you coughing? Are you short of breath? Did you have contact with a person who could have been sick? Did you run a fever during the past 24 hours?
If you observe any symptoms during the aforesaid monitoring you must refer your domestic for medical examination and testing, if necessary. You can also call the national Covid-19 toll-free number 0800 029 999 for any assistance in this regard.
The employer is also responsible for issuing the domestic with a permit. There is no prescribed permit for domestics. An example of such a permit is attached, which is only aimed at proving a service relationship.
Make sure that your household is ready for the return of your domestic worker.
Click here for the permit.