A domestic workers contract is a must these days if you're thinking about hiring someone to work in or around your home. And when we say must, we mean must. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act requires that you have a written contract with any worker in your employment. Domestic workers include nannies, gardeners, drivers, and housekeepers as well as those who look after children, the elderly or sick family members. Without a domestic workers contract, you could find yourself in deep trouble, particularly if there is a disagreement between you and your employee. So what do you need to know when drawing up a contract of employment? Here are the high points that you should be aware of when thinking about a domestic workers contract.
A Domestic Workers Contract: Time and Money
Just like with most jobs, there is a limit to the amount of time that domestic workers can work. They can work no more than 45 hours a week, which can be split up into either five nine hour days or six eight hour days. Your employee may work overtime, but this can only be voluntary, you cannot require them to do so. An employee cannot work more than twelve hours a day, and cannot do more than fifteen hours of overtime per week.
There is also a minimum wage law for domestic workers. The amount of money you must pay per hour is determined by two things: the district that you live in and the type of work the domestic workers contract is for. You'll need to find out up to date info about minimum wage for your area using your local government's website.
Household Insurance can protect you from thefts and domestic worker accidents.
Terminating a Domestic Workers Contract
Probably one of the first things that people look at in a contract of employment is how, when and why a contract can be ended. Your domestic workers contract is no different, and there are strict rules about contract termination. Whoever ends the contract (whether that's you or your employee) there must be a notice period. For those who have been employed for six months or less that notice period is one week, for those who have been employed for over six months it's four weeks. If your employee lives in your family home, you must give them one month's notice to leave their room or apartment.
A domestic worker can quit his or her job for any reason, but it's slightly more complicated for the employer to end the contract. You must have a valid and fair reason for ending a contract, and your domestic employee is allowed to question this and start proceedings against you if they feel your reasoning is not fair. If you need to end the contract for financial reasons you will need to pay severance pay. Finally, if an employee becomes sick or disabled you can only end the contract if you can prove that you cannot change the circumstances of their work to accommodate their disability or sickness.
The Basic Provisions of a Domestic Workers Contract
There are certain things that you are and are not allowed to do when employing someone to help you in your home. Here are some of the more important things that you'll need to keep in mind to stay inside the law:
- You may not deduct money from your employee's pay for meals, clothing or any breakages, you can make deductions for accommodation, but that can be no more than 10% of the total monthly sum;
- You must provide a payslip every month that notes pay rate, the number of hours (and amount of overtime if applicable) worked and any deductions made;
- Any overtime worked must be made at 1.5 times the normally wage, or you must give the employee the same amount of paid holiday hours as overtime worked;
- For every five hours of continuous work domestic workers must have at least a thirty minute break;
- You must give any domestic worker three weeks of holiday per year;
- You must pay your employee for any public holiday that falls on a day they would normally work, the employee may work on public holidays but only if there is a written agreement to do so and they must receive double their hourly wage.
Drawing Up a Domestic Workers Contract
As we mentioned above, it is the law that you have a written contract between yourself and any domestic workers. And that's only fair, since few of us would work without a legal and fair contract. However, the process of drawing up a domestic workers contract can be a little intimidating. If you need a little help, you can find many examples of employment contracts online, including a sample domestic workers contract.
Having help around the house is great, and domestic workers can really be a part of the family. But it is important that you employ workers legally. Without a domestic workers contract you could find that you're sued or fined! So take the time to do things right!
One last thought: if something happens to your domestic worker, for example she slips and breaks her arm, the first person she or he will turn to sue will be the employer – that's you. The best, and only, thing you can do to protect yourself from this happening, is to get employer insurance. When domestic workers are involved, this type of insurance is usually covered in your household insurance. For your convenience, we've included a form here above through which you can get a free quote.
Main subject: domestic workers contract