POLL | How are you protecting your domestic employees from Covid-19?
As Covid-19 continues to spread in SA and more people opt to work from home, the safety of domestic employees remains a cause for concern, and calls for employers to grant paid leave are mounting.
On Sunday, health minister Zweli Mkhize said there were 274 confirmed coronavirus cases in SA.
Domestic workers don't have the option of working from home. Those who don't live full time in the homes of their employers mostly rely on public transport to travel to and from work, which puts them at a higher risk of contracting the virus.
On Friday, United Domestic Workers of SA (Udwosa) president Pinky Mashiane said employers must grant their employees paid leave if they want them to stay in their own homes during the pandemic because these workers depend on their jobs to provide for their families.
Eunice Dhladhla, assistant general secretary of the SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers Union (Sadsawu), said employers who insist on having their employees come to work amid the pandemic must do so responsibly by providing sanitisers, gloves and masks to prevent the possibility of infection.
“The employers could still let their workers come to work, but must buy the correct items to protect their workers. Although there is the saying ‘no work, no pay’ there are domestic workers who will stay home not because they want to, but because they’re afraid of this illness."
Department of employment and labour spokesperson Teboho Thejane said employers who granted leave to their domestic workers were legally obliged to pay them.
He said the department was looking into leave options employees could apply for while they practise self-isolation and social distancing.
“A number of leave provisions will be used to help those who might have to go on leave if they are affected. They can apply for special leave.” TimesLIVE reported.
Here's a glimpse into what some people had to say on Twitter:
Kubekho abamama(domestic workers) working in these homes...— Thandolwake kula (@ThandolwakeK) March 23, 2020
Babuyela nayo ekasi engok🙆♀️
Guys if you can— Mommy is Here 💙💛 (@ChulayoM) March 23, 2020
Please pay the domestic workers full pay
Even those who are at home
People expect their domestic workers to show up today!— CALL THE POLICE!!! (@ThaboBluebird) March 23, 2020
•did you organize them transport?
•are you paying them danger pay?
•what medical benefits do they get?
• Sick leave?
Then let’s scale that up to all other service staff...
Those of you with domestic workers in your employ, what interventions are you taking in this time of self-isolation? #NoZelda I've given our domestic worker off until end April, with full pay so she doesn't pick up work days & expose herself to people who could give her the Rona— Janine J 💕 (@janine_j) March 22, 2020
Forcing people to be at work right now should be a criminal offense! Most people in this country use public transport which is NOT safe right now! The crowded work places are NOT safe! Don’t go to work! Report your boss to the police! Maybe govt. should give us access to UIF?— KingTha (@thandiswamazwai) March 23, 2020