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Domestic workers wages bring confusion

Confusion amongst employers and employees is rife with the newly implemented minimum wage for domestic workers which came into effect on Wednesday this week.

The prescribed minimum wage has been met with a lot of concern with the public questioning the ministry’s wisdom for implementing the minimum wage stating that it will be impossible for those working in the informal work sector such as security guards, domestic workers and vendors to pay the prescribed minimum wage, and have even called for the ministry to create three tiers for the domestic industry and give each tier its own minimum wage.
However, new Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation, Erkki Nghimtina, said all employers must obey the law and pay their employees according to the minimum wage and even more. He gave a stern warning to employers who will not adhere to the new set minimum wage and said those who fail to comply with the new law will face punishment.
“The new measures regarding domestic work should signal to the public, and especially the employers of domestic workers, that they will no longer be able to rely on cheap labour to perform domestic work. The new measures are binding on every domestic worker and every employer of a domestic worker in Namibia and are enforceable by law. The implementation of the Wage Order will begin a new era in the regulation of the employment of domestic workers in Namibia. These measures have the potential to improve the lives of many of Namibia’s approximately 46 ,000 domestic workers,” said Nghimtina.
The ministry has already embarked upon a one-year public awareness campaign in order to make it known to the employers, domestic workers and the public in general, the new minimum wages and minimum conditions of employment.
The ministry encourages employers and employees to negotiate higher wages than the minimum wages that reflect the importance and value of domestic workers to families and to the Namibian nation. The ministry’s public awareness campaign is aimed to secure compliance with the Wage Order on the part of domestic workers and employers of domestic workers.
In order to safe guard the rights of domestic workers as well as ensure that employers also get the services they are paying for, the ministry has introduced an SMS line to enable interested parties to contact the ministry for further information and to lodge complaints, parties can address their queries to 66111. Along side that the ministry has distributed 40,000 standard subcontracts of employment for domestic workers across the country, the contract was gazetted as part of the Wage Order and is designed in such a way that it protects both the employer and the employee.
Domestic workers who are paid below the prescribed minimum wage or who have experienced a reduction in their salaries are urged to visit the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation regional offices country wide or to make use of the ministry’s SMS line.
Effective of 1 April 2015 the minimum wage for domestic workers are N$1,218, N$281,09 per week, N$56,21 per day, N$7.02, N$10,53 per hour overtime, N$14,04 per hour on Sundays and holidays with an increment to an amount equivalent to the increase in the consumer price index 5% effective 1 April 2016.

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