POLL | How are you protecting your domestic employees from Covid-19?

23 March 2020 - 13:20 By Cebelihle Bhengu
Most companies are allowing their employees to work from home, but this is not an option for domestic workers.
Most companies are allowing their employees to work from home, but this is not an option for domestic workers.
Image: 123rf.com/Csaba Deli

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: