The recent announcement by the government on Stage 4 of the lockdown left a number of people confused about who is able to go back to work with regards to domestic workers. The news that domestic workers and care givers will be able to resume work came as good news to a lot of families
that are needing an income to be able to meet the financial responsibility. It was, however, not so clear to a number of people if this applied to all domestic workers.
There, however, has been clarity with regards to this matter and the general understanding is that: “If they live on your premises they may return from wherever they are at the present moment and they return to your premises to start rendering services to you,” as explained by Megan Harrington- Johnson, Managing partner – JHW Attorneys. Essentially, what this means is if your domestic is not a stay in and is one who comes to work and must go home at the end of the day, they are not eligible to work under Stage 4. This is news that will not be well received by a lot of domestics that do work under these conditions.
In the meantime, to help alleviate the financial burden, it is best that all employers of domestic workers that do not stay on the employer’s premises, assist them in making claim with the Unemployment Insurance Fund. The problem that has always existed in this area is that a lot of employers do not register their domestics for UIF and when an occasion such as this presents itself the employee is left with no viable alternative. The statistics as at June 2019 indicated that about a third of all domestic workers are still not registered for UIF. It is important to note that employers who fail to register their employees maybe fined or even imprisoned.
Should you require a assistance with registering your domestic for UIF, contact SNC-Tax for quick assistance.
In addition to domestic workers, Stage 4 of the COVID-19 lockdown has also made provision for other caregivers to go back to work. This includes individuals who care for the sick, the mentally ill, the elderly, people with disabilities and for children may also return to work and for that category. It has, however, not been clarified if this group must be live-in workers. Clarity is still required in this area, but it is highly likely that these too, should be live in workers, as the main objective is to reduce movement. It would also be important to remember to afford these workers the necessary resources to be able to claim UIF if you employ one.
At the end of the day, it is important to remember that the people working in your home are equally covered by the BCEA the same way office and other formal workers are. Therefore, it is important to ensure that as an employer you are aware of your obligations towards your employee. This includes, apart from UIF, other matters such as working hours, overtime, leave applications and so on. This is of course, if they are working more than 24 hours a week. If you need any assistance with regards
the registrations, consult us