New Minimum Wages for Domestic Workers

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The Zimbabwean government has set wages of domestic workers between US$85 and US$100 per month, resulting in the highest-paid  domestic workers earning  a salary that compares to some nurses and teaching professionals.

The new wages and working conditions were approved by Cabinet and are with effect backdated from October 1.

Workers not residing with their employers are now entitled to accommodation, transport, electricity and fuel or cooking allowances.

A yard worker or gardener will now get US$85 per month or a weekly wage of US$19.60, while a cook or housekeeper is now entitled to US$90 per month or US$20.79 per week.

Those domestic workers looking after the disabled had their wages pegged at US$95 per month or US$21.94 per week.

Some domestic workers with Red Cross certificates or similar qualification who take care of the disabled and the aged are paid US$100 or US$23.10 per week.

Those who do not stay with their employers are now entitled to monthly allowances of US$50 accommodation, US$26 for transport, US$5 for lights, US$5 for fuel or cooking and US$5 for water.

Announcing the new wages and conditions of services yesterday, Labour and Social Services Minister Paurina Mpariwa, said the minimum wages and working conditions were set after extensive consultations among the social partners. These are labour, employers and government under the auspices of the Tripartite Wages and Salaries Advisory Council.

"My office is in the process of making the necessary arrangements for the publication of the Statutory Instrument that will give effect to these new conditions of employment for domestic workers,"said Mpariwa.

She also said that while government appreciated the many challenges faced by employers of domestic workers, it was imperative to take these conditions of services for domestic workers seriously.

She said those with capacity should pay their workers more.

"Accordingly, I request individual employers to strive for better and decent conditions for the vulnerable domestic workers," she said.

The move by the Government is in line with the call by the International Labour Organisation for member-states to effectively implement a historic convention, which seeks to improve the working conditions of millions of domestic workers worldwide. Convention 189 on Decent Work for Domestic Workers was adopted at the ILO 100th session in Geneva, Switzerland, in June this year.

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Read more about the ILO Convention on Domestic Workers.