The Effects of the Basic Conditions of Employment, Act no. 97 on Domestic Workers in South Africa

Mokoko Sebola


The purpose of this paper is to argue that the adoption of government policies in South Africa to regulate the relationship between the employer and the employee by pleasing one party rather than both is responsible for more exploitation of labourers in the domestic sector, than before the policy was put into effect, therefore leading to a policy to achieve lesser benefits for intended beneficiaries. Domestic workers worldwide are believed to be abused and their rights infringed by their employers. Domestic work in South Africa is provided to low, middle and high income earners in the country depending on the nature of work done by the employee. This service is usually provided by families from poor background with little or no income generated in the household except the one received from the employer. Generally poor families are vulnerable to exploitation by their employees in the society. Previously the South African government did not have a clear policy regulating the wages and employment of people in this sector. This has led to the exploitation of employees in the sector through lower wages, long hourly services and various forms of labour abuse without employee benefits in all respects. The Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 responded to this problem in this sector as well as other employee sectors in the country, however, varied responses were seen from the employment market in the sector leading to negative consequences of which intended beneficiaries have to settle for less without reasonable options available to them from the policy. This paper therefore raises the following important research questions: * What are the effects of the Basic Conditions of Employment Act of 1997 on South Africans employed in the domestic sector? * What are the policy benefits and de-benefits on employees in the domestic sector? What are the probable solutions of this policy on accommodating both the interest of the employer and the employees?

DOI: 10.5901/mjss.2014.v5n6p123

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Mediterranean Journal of Social Sciences ISSN 2039-9340(Print) ISSN 2039-2117(Online)

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