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

 

Investing in employees’ future

1 month - 27 September 2019 | Labour

FirstRand Namibia supports education with bursariesFirstRand Namibia Assistance Trust has reduced the tertiary financial burden for 38 of its employees by awarding bursaries allowing them...

Empowering young leaders

1 month - 27 September 2019 | Labour

Francois van der Merwe As part of its ongoing mission to empower, equip and transform, Erongo Marine Enterprises (EME) sponsored ten young leaders, including...

Aaniilonga ya hala aahona yawo ya shunwe miilonga

1 month - 24 September 2019 | Labour

LEANDREA LOUW Aaniilonga yehangano lyEmbwinda Fishing otaya kondjitha opo aakomeho yawo miilonga ye li 21, mboka ya kuthwa miilonga shaaheli paveta opo ya shunwe...

Workers fight for supervisors

1 month - 23 September 2019 | Labour

Embwinda Fishing employees are on the warpath over the alleged unfair dismissal of 21 factory supervisors on 30 August.They held a peaceful demonstration at the...

Sex, verbal abuse rife in workplaces

1 month - 20 September 2019 | Labour

Workplaces in Namibia are rife with sexual and verbal abuse by bosses or clients who are rarely held to account for fear of further harassment...

Members pull out

1 month - 20 September 2019 | Labour

Namibia National Students' Organisation (Nanso) president Ester Simon says she will not be intimidated by the “small political circus” currently engulfing the student body. Vice-president...

Ekanka lyaaniilonga yaAgribusdev kali li paveta

2 months ago - 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 months 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

2 months 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

2 months 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...

Latest News

August 26 CEO innovates

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | Business

Elizabeth Joseph ...

Fishing quotas under scrutiny

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | Fishing

President Hage Geingob and acting fisheries minister Albert Kawana will meet next week to discuss the credibility of the fishing quota allocation process, as well...

Geingob was 'talked out of'...

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | Government

President Hage Geingob had written dismissal letters for ministers Sacky Shanghala and Bernhard Esau on Wednesday morning, but a high-level meeting that included Vice-president Nangolo...

Helping people help themselves

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | People

Evany van WykMarjolize Scholtz has been a wellness professional for over 17 years. During her career her empathy towards people has grown immensely. Scholtz was...

Putting on a corporate...

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | People

Elizabeth Joseph Margaret Thatcher once quipped that if you want something said, ask a man. If you want something done, ask a woman. Langford...

Fuelled by ­creativity

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | People

Evany van Wyk “Every challenge is put on your path to groom you and build you and if I had the opportunity to change something...

A musician at heart

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | People

Queen, Mumford and Sons, as well as Koos du Plessis are all musical influences that Ruan Greeff, or John Rock Prophet as you may know...

EVMs in the firing line

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | Politics

Independent president candidate Panduleni Itula, the Electoral Commission of Namibia (ECN) and Swapo will square off in the electoral court on Tuesday, 19 November over...

Unshackling the toothless ACC

3 days ago - 15 November 2019 | Opinion

Much has been said about the Anti-Corruption Commission (ACC) over the years. Many have called it toothless.Revelations this week that it has been sitting on...

Load More