WINDHOEK – The Minister of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation Erkki Nghimtina has warned employers of domestic workers to adhere to the required legal age limit of 18 years.
The age of 18 is the minimum age legally required for someone to be employed as a domestic worker and employers that contravene this legal requirement will be prosecuted, the minister said.
“The agreed age is however subject to exceptions in case the domestic worker to be employed is under the age of 18,” Nghimtina, a minister in this portfolio for just over a week, said.
“The employer intending to employ such a minor has to seek authorisation from the Ministry of Labour, Industrial Relations and Employment Creation motivating the reasons such an applicant intends to employ a minor,” he said yesterday when he presented the minimum wages and conditions of employment for domestic workers to be enforced from tomorrow.
Speaking at the same occasion, acting permanent secretary in the ministry, Bro-Matthew Shinguadja said: “The employer has to provide concrete reasons of why he intends to employ a minor and investigations shall be done in order to verify if the reasons presented by the employer are indeed valid. One of the reasons can be if the minor requires financial assistance to further his[/her] studies, and this can be verified by the teachers or principals if there is need of financial assistance for a particular minor.”
The minimum wage is binding on all domestic workers and employers of domestic workers are warned to adhere to the new conditions of employment.
The agreed upon wages are N$1 218 per month for full-time domestic workers, or N$281.09 per week, N$56.21 per day, N$7.02 per hour, N$10.53 overtime per hour and N$14.04 per hour on Sundays and public holidays.
Research carried out by the ministry found that 45 percent of domestic workers earn below N$600 per month, stating that the new measures mark the beginning of a new regime for domestic workers.
“The new measures should be regarded as a signal to the public and employers of domestic workers that they will no longer be able to rely on cheap labour,” Nghimtina cautioned.
Further, the minister stated that the minimum wage in 2016 shall be increased to an amount equivalent to the consumer price index, with an additional five percent increase and it will be reviewed before end of each second year.
Nghimtina emphasised that all parties should understand that the minimum wage is not the wage rate that the government thinks employers of domestic workers should pay, but this means they can be paid higher than this.
It is a minimum, which the law does not permit employers to pay less than the stipulated amount.
Nghimtina urged all domestic workers who will be paid below the prescribed minimum wage coming into effect on April 1, or who will experience a reduction in their salaries, to visit his office.