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

 

Daily grind

8 hours ago | 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

8 hours ago | 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

2 weeks ago - 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

3 weeks ago - 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...

Standard Bank faces strike vote

1 month - 17 July 2019 | Labour

ELVIRA HATTINGH Members of the Bank Workers Union of Namibia (Bawon) are to vote on whether to strike...

Unions drag govt to labour commissioner

1 month - 04 July 2019 | Labour

The Namibia Public Workers Union (Napwu) and Namibia National Teachers Union (Nantu) have lodged a labour dispute at the Office of the Labour Commissioner, after...

Union, MMI cement relationship

1 month - 20 June 2019 | Labour

MMI Holdings Limited (MMI) yesterday formally recognised the Namibian Bank Workers Union (NBWU) through the signing of a recognition agreement. MMI Holdings Namibia interim group...

Furnmart,Home Corp strike continues

2 months ago - 13 June 2019 | Labour

The countrywide strike by Furnmart and Home Corp employees is set to continue until the workers' demands are met.This is according to Metal and Allied...

Jobs for foreigners

2 months ago - 11 June 2019 | Labour

A total of 114 foreigners were employed in Namibia in 2017/18, including as science and language teachers, while an application to appoint a foreigner as...

Racial prejudice remains – minister

2 months ago - 10 June 2019 | Labour

White employees' dominance of management positions and disproportional favour for white employees despite 29 years of independence is a serious concern, labour minister Erkki Nghimtina...

Latest News

Corpses rot in homes

8 hours ago | Health

Unregistered deaths, including infant mortalities, and corpses being left to rot in homes over weekends, are just some of the challenges being faced by the...

Young mom hacked to death

8 hours ago | Crime

A 23-year-old woman was brutally murdered this past Friday in Kavango West, allegedly by her long-time boyfriend, who hacked her to death with an axe...

It was tough - Tomas

8 hours ago | Sports

LIMBA MUPETAMI Namibian long-distance runners Rainhold Tomas and Alina Armas are the winners of the 19th edition of the Old Mutual Victory Race in the...

Dying for a home

8 hours ago | Opinion

Many Namibians have, and still will, die before they ever have the chance to own a home. Studies have put the housing backlog as high...

Stars revamp coaching staff

8 hours ago | Sports

African Stars have announced the appointment of Mervin Mbakera as the assistant coach to Mohamed Gargo, in place of Andrew Tjahikika.According to a media release,...

The circus continues

8 hours ago | Sports

Limba MupetamiThe Namibia Premier League (NPL) is a circus. I'm sure everyone knows that by now. Firstly, we are forced to go and watch football...

Cheetahs edge Pumas in Nelspruit...

8 hours ago | Sports

The Cheetahs overturned a halftime deficit to win 43-37 against the Pumas in their Currie Cup match at the Mbombela Stadium in Nelspruit on Saturday....

Boxers hyped for the African...

8 hours ago | Sports

The eight amateur boxers selected to represent Namibia at the 2019 African Games in Morocco are looking forward to bringing silverware back home when the...

SA athletes prepare for 50km...

8 hours ago | Sports

The 12-member SA team have entered the final stages of preparation for the International Association of Ultrarunners (IAU) 50km world championships in Brasov, Romania, as...

Load More