Domestic Workers and the Law

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Who is a domestic worker?

A domestic worker is a man, woman or child who works within an employer's household. Domestic workers perform a variety of household services for an individual or a family, from providing care for children and elderly dependents to cleaning and household maintenance, known as housekeeping. 

Other responsibilities?

Some domestic workers combine household duties and gardening. Others are cooking, doing laundry and ironing and food shopping.

What is the situation concerning working hours and domestic workers in Namibia?

According to the Labour Act in the country, a domestic worker should not work more than 45 hours per week. Any additional hours worked are considered overtime, and a domestic worker must be paid 1.5 times her basic hourly wage for overtime work. No one can be forced to work overtime, and overtime may not be more than 10 hours per week. 

If a domestic worker works between 8pm and 7am, he or she should receive at least an additional 6 percent of his or her basic hourly wage for this night work. For work on a Sunday, he or she should receive either (1) twice her basic hourly wage or (2) 1.5 times her basic hourly wage plus an equal amount of time off during the next working week (if the domestic worker agrees to this arrangement). After a domestic worker works for five hours without stopping, he or she should be given one hour off as a meal break.

What agreement needs to be done between domestic worker and employer?

According to available information, both the employer and domestic worker must register with the Social Security Commission (SSC). To register, both people must fill out forms available at the local SSC office. The employer pays 0.9 percent of the domestic worker’s monthly salary, and deducts 0.9 percent from his or her salary, making a total of 0.18 percent contribution to the SSC each month. These payments become part of a fund that will allow the domestic worker to receive money for maternity leave, sickness, and death (when money is paid to the family). It is therefore the employer’s responsibility to pay this money to the SSC. 

Further information

If the domestic worker works for more than one employer, each individual employer is still responsible for registering the domestic worker and paying 0.18 percent of the domestic worker’s monthly salary to the SSC. It is against the law not to register your domestic worker with the SSC. Even if your domestic worker only cleans your house for one morning per week, you are still an employer in the eyes of the law. 

Annual Leave

According to the country’s Labour Law Act, a domestic worker should receive paid leave for holidays or any other leave he or she wishes to take. The amount of leave he or she may take is dependent on the number of days or hours he or she works.  A domestic is also entitled to sick leave.  The sick leave is calculated on a 36-month cycle.  A domestic worker should receive her basic wage for sick days. If she is off sick for more than two days in a row, she must provide her employer with a medical certificate. If she does not provide the certificate, the employer is not obliged to  pay her sick leave.