IF WE have a Secretary’s Day and a Boss’s Day, we definitely need a Domestic Workers’ Day.
This was said by businesswoman Sizile Makola, who launched SA’s first Domestic Workers’ Day on Facebook and Twitter yesterday.
Makola, 35, runs a business called My Claim Mate that provides human resources services for employers of domestic workers.
The company registers domestic workers with the unemployment insurance fund (UIF) and helps employers to ensure that they are compliant with the law.
Makola, who has teamed up with the SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers’ Union, says SA needs to acknowledge the value of domestic workers.
She says Domestic Workers’ Day will help raise awareness of the work they do.
“These are the people we entrust with our homes and our children, but who are often invisible.
“In the same way that annually we recognise the work of secretaries, I believe we should do the same for domestic workers.”
She says she can’t function well without her helper.
“She gives me the freedom and security to run my business, knowing that my kids and home are well cared for.”
Makola says she wishes that domestic workers’ employers could show appreciation for their employees and realise how valuable they are.
“Employers should also realise that they need to be responsible employers and be compliant with the relevant employment laws.
“We want domestic workers to realise their own value and the contribution they make in our homes and economy,” says Makola.
Domestic workers still face several issues.
She says many employees do not even have the basic protection that is provided by employment laws because enforcement is difficult in a situation where most workers are the only employee in the workplace.
“Their workplace is a private home, and the relationship between worker and employer is very unbalanced in terms of power.”
Through Domestic Workers’ Day, she wants people who employ domestic workers to show appreciation to their employees by posting on their Facebook pages and Twitter.
“There is a badge that we want people to use on Facebook and Twitter to show their support.
“People will be able to choose a badge in their colour of choice to automatically post on their Facebook page to show support.”
To meet the needs of domestic workers, Makola says her company uses the Basic Conditions of Employment Act and the sectoral determinations that provide protection for domestic workers and guides employers about their responsibilities.
“However, most employees and employers are aware of these, but not the details.”
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