Domestic Workers seek a living wage

All about Domestic Workers in Zimbabwe, Domestic Workers and Salaries, Domestic Workers and Labour Laws, Domestic Workers and a Decent Wage in Zimbabwe on Mywage Zimbabwe.

An email circulated in January 2011 throughout Zimbabwe contained information sourced from the domestic workers’ union and ZCTU setting out new recommended monthly wage rates for domestic workers.

The issue of domestic workers wages and allowances has been woefully neglected.  The rates were last reviewed two years ago. However, that the email schedule being circulated carries no force of law.  According to the email a gardener’s monthly rate should be US$ 150 and a cook/housekeeper should be US$ 160.

Wages reviewed years ago

The monthly rates were last reviewed in September 2009.  At the time, the domestic workers’ union indicated that monthly minimum wages should be US$ 105 for a gardener and US$ 110 for a cook/housekeeper etc, with transport and housing. The figures were not officially gazetted by way of a statutory instrument and remained mere guidelines with no force of law.  Up until now, the figures have not been formalised and still carry no legal force.  

Suggested monthly minimum rates

Below we give a comparative schedule of the suggested monthly minimum wages with effect from 1 August 2009 and seventeen months later, from 1 January 2011.

GRADE

RATE W.E.F.1/8/2009

LATE W.E.F.1/1/2011

$ INCREASE

% INCREASE

Gardener

$105

$150

$45

43%

Cook/housekeeper

$110

$160

$50

45%

Child minder

$115

$170

$55

48%

Disabled /aged minder

$120

$180

$60

50%


Not legal

Unfortunately, however, until such time as a new set of Domestic Workers Employment regulations are contained in a statutory Instrument and published in the government  gazette, these proposed monthly wage rates remain a wish list and serve as a mere guideline.  

The circular also lacks detail.  It merely states that “those workers who do not live–in must also be paid allowances for transport, accommodation, fuel, water and electricity”. 

Where does it leave the domestic worker?  Badly exposed to all forms of abuse. The situation is not helped as government has neglected or refused to fix minimum wages for domestic workers in the absence of a National Employment  Council (NEC) for this important sector.

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Find out more about Organised Labour in Zimbabwe.

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