CYNTHIA works for a family as a domestic worker and nanny. Her duties include cleaning, doing the laundry, looking after the kids and cooking supper every night. She only has Sundays off. A friend, also a domestic worker, advised her that she was working too much, and that it was against the law and her rights. Cynthia wasn’t sure if her friend was right, but felt overworked and wasn’t allowed to attend funerals and the like. She needs advice. Regarding working hours, this is a summary of Cynthia’s rights as provided for by the Sectoral Determination for the Domestic Worker Sector ) She shouldn’t work more than 45 hours a week, no more than nine hours a day in a five-day week, or eight hours a day in a six-day week. ) She shouldn’t work more than 15 hours of overtime per week, and can’t work more than 12 hours a day, overtime included. ) Cynthia can be on standby, meaning being at the workplace between the hours of 8pm and 6am, during which she is permitted to rest and sleep, but be required to work if necessary. This standby can only be done if agreed to in writing and shouldn’t take place more than five times a month. In addition, she must be paid a minimum allowance of R30 per shift. ) Night work, which is work done between 6pm and 6am, can only be done if there’s an agreement in writing. There must be an allowance payment and, if the domestic worker doesn’t reside on the property, there must be transport available to and from the workplace at the beginning and at the end of the employee’s shift. ) She is entitled to an hour mealtime break after five hours of work. This can be reduced to 30 minutes, but only by agreement. ) Working on a Sunday is voluntary, so Cynthia can’t be forced to do so. If she does, she has to be paid double the daily wage. This unless it was agreed upon that she’ll work on Sundays. In this case, she is to be paid time-and-a-half for every hour worked. ) Working on a public holiday is also voluntary and she can’t be forced to work on that day. If she does work, she has to be paid double the daily wage. ) She is entitled to annual, sick, maternity and family responsibility leave. Cynthia is entitled to three weeks per year of annual leave for permanent workers, or one day for 17 days worked or one hour for 17 hours worked. ) In a leave cycle of 36 months, she is entitled to the number of days that she would have worked during a period of six weeks, as sick leave. ) She is entitled to four months maternity leave, which her employer isn’t entitled to pay her for. But an agreement regarding receiving her or part of her salary can be reached. ) Domestic workers, who are employed for longer than four month and work at least four days a week, are entitled to five days paid family responsibility leave. This can be taken in the instance of the employee’s child being born or sick, and the death of a close family member. Where her employer is not abiding by the above, Cynthia has a right to refer an Unfair Labour Practice case to the Commission for Conciliation, Mediation and Arbitration. If her dispute regards being unpaid for any overtime work, she must open a case with the Department of Labour.
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