The Constitutional Court have now ruled that it is unfair for domestic workers to be excluded from the Compensation Fund for occupational injuries and disease. This is not unexpected and will be welcomed by employees in this sector.
The biggest challenges will be working out how this will operate in practice given how dysfunctional the Compensation Fund is already (It struggles to cope with existing employers let alone another 5 million employers); and how the increased compliance risk and cost might impact employment in this space.
The case that sparked the ruling involved a domestic worker who was partially blind and while cleaning windows, fell off a ladder into a swimming pool and drowned. This unfortunate incident highlighted areas of potential risk for injury in a home and the consequences of an informal domestic arrangement which left the survivors of this domestic worker with no funds or recourse as a result of dangerous or undesirable workplace practice.
The next step will be for the legislation changes to be promulgated. A big concern will then be that without any guidance form the Compensation Fund (very unlikely this will be forthcoming), this will require all domestic employers to get registered which is time consuming and expensive and it is unclear what category they should be registered in. It will then require domestic employers to submit an annual return of earnings. Together these steps will cost a couple of thousand Rand so we expect many employers to be non-compliant in the short term which will raise civil claim risks for them.
HRTorQue offers a domestic payroll option to make sure employers are compliant in this space. Contact us for more information.