Domestic Bliss

Since the latter part of March 2020, the issue of Temporary Employee Employer Relief Scheme (TERS) funding of wages for Domestic Employees became common enquiry. The Department of Labour Inspectors have also been known to go door to door in the residential areas as well as making contact with the governing bodies of complexes. The inspectors  request to speak to employers regarding their domestic employees and in the absence of the homeowner or tenant they have a chat to the domestic employee themselves.  So let us imagine one of those beautiful early Midlands mornings and your gate bell rings and standing there is a well-dressed inspector asking to speak to you. I have heard of some residents hiding behind the curtain and sending the old faithful domestic out to see what the unexpected visitor wants, others claim to be ‘not at home, being there in body but not in spirit.

The mixed emotions experienced will be determined by one or two very simple matters that have or have not been complied with, starting with, ‘is there a Contact of Employment and does the employee receive the minimum wage’? Following on from this, ‘does the employer deduct and pay across the UIF contributions on a monthly basis’?

Now these requirements bring forth some very strong emotions in many households but the simple answer is that it is a requirement not only of the Basic Condition of Employment Act, but the Domestic Employee Sector is further governed by a Ministerial Sectorial Determination which regulates employment conditions particular to that sector of our economy.

Unlike the ‘British Bull Dog’ who the old comedians Swan & Flanders claimed “had no teeth at all” the Labour Inspector does have and if the employer remains hiding behind the curtain and the old faithful domestic employee innocently declares that, ‘no he or she is not aware of any contract and payslip’ what payslip!!, a subpoena is written out there and then for the employer, to in person appear at the Department of Labour within a day or two.

Domestic Employment is possibly one of the most ignored areas by employers who possibly due to the fact that the employment occurs in the home do not consider the ‘business ‘aspect of the employment relationship. This is possibly the best reason to insure that all your domestic employment matters are in order and ‘domestic bliss’ is maintained.

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