Daily grind

It is estimated that the domestic work sector employs a total workforce of 72 184 workers, approximately 10% of the employed labour force in Namibia.

19 August 2019 | Labour

Even though most of Namibia's more than 72 000 domestic workers earn above the minimum N$1 502 a month, close to 80% of them say they struggle to keep their families' heads above water, due to the high cost of living.

This includes those working multiple jobs and longer hours, in an effort to add money to their near-empty purses.

They opened up to researchers in a just-published study, saying they are often unable to make ends meet.

The findings are contained in the study titled 'When the minimum wage is not taking the worker home', which was commissioned by the Labour Resource and Research Institute Namibia (LaRRI) and launched last week.

The study found that most of the domestic workers surveyed indicated they spend as much as, or more than their monthly earnings.

It found that more than 76.3% of the 203 participants (155 domestic workers), indicated that their wages are not adequate as “it does not cover their expenses”.





Some of the domestic workers stressed that they “try to have as many jobs as possible, but while they work longer hours and for multiple employers, they are still not able to make ends meet”.

Less than 18% of the domestic workers (35) said their wages are adequate to cover the cost of basic food and non-food items per month. The 2017 wage order decreed a minimum of N$1 502.05 per month salary or N$346.89 per week, N$69.37 per day and N$8.67 per hour. Part-time domestic workers must earn a minimum of N$43.35 per day if they work five hours.



Too little

Of the 203 domestic workers surveyed, more than 74.4% or 151 said their pay was N$3 000 or less per month, albeit that overall, 122 (60%) of the respondents earned above the minimum N$1 502 monthly pay.

Only 20 (9.9%) of the domestic workers said they took home above N$3 000 each month.

The report concluded that the finding that the majority of domestic workers earned above the minimum wage could be explained “by the fact that most were in employment for a number of years, and were based in Windhoek where knowledge of the minimum wage is relatively high”.

Moreover, “most of them work for more than one employer”.

Fifty-eight of participants (28.6%) earned between N$1 501 and N$2 000 each month, with fewer (49 or 24.1%) indicating they earned between N$2 001 and N$3 000 on a monthly basis.

A total of 70 domestic workers said they earned less than N$1502 each month - 44 or 21.7% - said they took home between N$1 000 and N$1 500 each month, and 26 said their earnings ranged between N$600 and N$1 000 each month.



Not realistic

The report says the study “confirms the constant argument that wage levels for domestic workers in Namibia are not in tandem with increases in the cost of living in the country”.

Close to 42% of the domestic workers surveyed for the study suggested that an amount between N$2 301 and N$3 300 will be more appropriate as a minimum wage.

A smaller group, representing 22% of the respondents, suggested a monthly minimum wage ranging between N$3 301 and N$4 300 for the sector.

Nevertheless, “some respondents indicated that the current minimum wage is ideal for someone entering the labour market for the first time”.

The main objective of the study was to provide an overview and explanation of the impact of the minimum wage order on the Namibian domestic work sector, which is the fourth largest source of employment in the country.

It is estimated the sector employs a total workforce of 72 184 workers, approximately 10% of the employed labour force in Namibia.

The report notes that domestic work occupies a significant proportion of the labour force in Namibia and their numbers “are almost equal, if not more than the number of public servants”.

The sector furthermore is a critical source of employment for women. According to the 2018 labour force survey, 51 744 of the 72 184 domestic workers are women.

Of the 203 study participants, 171 (84%) were female, while 32 (16%) were male domestic workers.

Similar News

 

Ekanka lyaaniilonga yaAgribusdev kali li paveta

1 day - 18 September 2019 | Labour

Omunambelewa Omukomeho gwoAgribusdev, Petrus Uugwanga okwa popi kutya aaniilonga kaya li ya pewa epitiko opo ya kuthe ombinga mehololomadhilaadhilo pethimbo lyoowili dhiilonga.ugwanga okwa popi kutya...

Agribusdev protest 'illegal'

2 days ago - 17 September 2019 | Labour

Agribusdev has described the actions of its workers, who demonstrated in Rundu over unpaid salaries, as illegal. Agribusdev managing director Petrus Uugwanga said the...

Builders' union appeals to State House

6 days ago - 13 September 2019 | Labour

The Metal and Allied Namibian Workers' Union (Manwu) yesterday appealed to President Hage Geingob to step in and save the construction sector, which has been...

Domestic workers ‘fear’ joining unions

4 weeks ago - 21 August 2019 | Labour

JANA-MARI SMITHMany domestic workers fear joining trade unions or taking full maternity leave, because they believe this could cost them their jobs. A study commissioned...

Employers fail to submit AA reports

1 month - 20 August 2019 | Labour

Many employers are failing to submit their Affirmative Action (AA) reports to the Employment Equity Commission (EEC) on time, while some do not submit them...

Natau elects new leaders

1 month - 20 August 2019 | Labour

The president of the Namibia Transport and Allied Workers' Union (Natau), William Claasen, retained his position at the ninth national congress held over the weekend.Claasen...

Daily grind

1 month - 19 August 2019 | Labour

Even though most of Namibia's more than 72 000 domestic workers earn above the minimum N$1 502 a month, close to 80% of them say...

Security firms defy law

1 month - 19 August 2019 | Labour

Out of 187 security companies that are registered countrywide with two recognised security unions, only 28 are complying with the 2017 gazetted minimum wage and...

Stop importing labour - Kandjoze

1 month - 31 July 2019 | Labour

Economic planning minister and National Planning Commission (NPC) director-general, Obeth Kandjoze, has made a “brotherly plea” to the Chinese government to minimise the use of...

Shoprite denies Nafau claims

1 month - 25 July 2019 | Labour

Shoprite Namibia has denied allegations made by the Namibian Food and Allied Workers Union (Nafau) that it is not recognising its workers' right to be...

Latest News

Oshakati hospital rundown, understaffed

16 hours ago | Health

The 750-bed Oshakati Intermediary Hospital, which serves close to a million patients a year, is operating without a paediatrician, neonatologist, neurosurgeon, dietician, clinical psychologist and...

Roar young lions, roar!

16 hours ago | Columns

Youth without a consistent voice are inevitably excluded from the pockets of power that exist throughout societies.Youth who become praise-singers and imbongis, even when they...

Teko trio walk free

16 hours ago | Justice

Teckla Lameck, Jerobeam Mokaxwa and Chinese national Yang Fang, known as the Teko trio, have been found not guilty of all charges relating to a...

'He decided to flee'

16 hours ago | Crime

Defence minister Penda Ya Ndakolo says Benisius Kalola (32), the second unarmed civilian killed during Operation Kalahari Desert this year, was shot when he fled...

280 cops deployed against poachers

16 hours ago | Crime

The Namibian police have deployed 280 members to assist in the fight against poaching.Inspector-general Sebastian Ndeitunga says these members, selected from across the country, are...

Uanivi gets Warriors chance

16 hours ago | Sports

African Stars veteran defender Pat-Navin Uanivi has finally been selected for the national team after years of being omitted. Uanivi forms part of Brave Warriors...

Horn suspended for alleged doping

16 hours ago | Sports

South African women's 100m record holder Carina Horn has been suspended from competition over doping allegations.The Athletics Integrity Unit (AIU) announced on Monday: “The AIU...

'Hitman' faces tough brawl

16 hours ago | Sports

Former two-time world champion Paulus 'Hitman' Moses is set for tough night, as he not only faces Russia's Adlan Aburashidov, but also the home-ground advantage...

Loubser ready to get his...

16 hours ago | Sports

Four years ago, Cliven Loubser was inspired after watching his native Namibia score a try against New Zealand and earn their first Rugby World Cup...

Load More