Domestic Work

All about Domestic Work in Uganda, Domestic Work and Wages in Uganda, Domestic Work and the Law in Uganda and more on AfricaPay Uganda

Does the law in Uganda protect the rights of domestic workers?

The Employment Act has a very narrow mention of domestic workers where it states that there is no permit requirement for one to recruit a domestic servant for employment. While the Employment Act 2006 recognises “house maids,” the irony is that the act does not recognise the category of workers known as “domestic workers” because homes are considered private premises and therefore cannot be inspected by labour officers to enforce the act.

That is the only provision in the law; the constitution of the republic of Uganda does not have specific provision tackling the work done by domestic workers in Uganda.

In this case employers should exhibit their utmost integrity to treat domestic workers as human beings. It is the responsibility of the employer to ensure that there is a fair and decent working environment for a domestic worker.

How should an employer pay a domestic worker in Uganda?

Given the fact that there is no minimum wage for domestic workers in Uganda, employers are responsible for setting a certain wage. This implies that the power to set a certain wage for a domestic worker depends on the bargaining power of the worker. The Minimum Wage in Uganda was set in 1984 and has not been revised since then. Domestic workers are usually paid between Shs 4,000 (US$ 1.78) and Shs 10,000 (US$ 4.44) per month. From these figures it is clear that the current situation suggests that these workers are being exploited. As an employer you are not meant to exploit domestic workers. Therefore a reasonable wage should be agreed at the start to avoid cases of exploitation.

Who is a domestic worker from an employer’s perspective?

Domestic workers in Uganda are mostly girls the age of 16 and above who are hired to do domestic chores in a home. They are commonly referred to as “house maids” or “house girls”. On rare occasions old women and “house boys” are also involved in offering this kind of labour. Other categories include drivers and other workers in farms and gardens.

Does a domestic worker have protection in an event that there is a grievance?

Since domestic workers are not regulated in Uganda, they quite often get exposed to uncontrolled, hazardous and exploitative work harmful to their health or physical, mental, spiritual, moral or social development. Nonetheless, like other workers, a domestic employee is entitled to report suspected wrong-doing to the District Labour Officer who will attempt to solve the matter with the employee and employer. In the case of failure, the matter can be taken to the Labour Commissioner.

Does a domestic worker in Uganda have a right to be notified in case his or her contract is to be terminated?

A domestic worker is entitled to notice in writing or a verbal notice for an illiterate worker. At the very least least this should be explained to the domestic worker if he/she is not able to understand it in written form.

What are the very basic labor rights meant for a domestic worker that an employer should respect?

  • Reasonable wages, paid on time.
  • Sick and vacation pay.
  • Access to health care.
  • Paid sick days or paid time off.
  • Other benefits and rights included in the Uganda labour laws.

Read more

Find out more about general labour laws in Uganda.

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