How much should you be paying your domestic worker?

The Living Wage is a new tool that has been created by open data company Code4SA to consider if you are paying your domestic worker enough.

Director of Code4SA, Adi Eyal, says that the tool serves as a guideline to help illustrate if the salary that employers pay their domestic workers is really reflective of what it costs to live in South Africa.

The tool itself isn't prescriptive. I don’t want to tell people what to pay their domestic workers. I want to give people an understanding so that they don’t claim that they didn't know.

Eyal says that people often determine the salary for their domestic workers by asking other friends and family to create 'a going rate'. He says the tool helps assess if that going rate is fair in comparison to living expenses incurred by the domestic worker.

How the calculator works

The tool uses multiple assumptions to calculate the living costs that one's domestic worker faces. Talking to CapeTalk's John Maytham, Eyal listed the nine following variables:

  • Household size. According to Eyal the tool considers the number of dependents in a domestic workers home, as statistics show that 75 percent of them are single income households which they head.
  • Food costs. These are based on StatsSA's Consumer Price Index for 2000 calories of food per day.
  • Transport expenses associated with their commute to and from work.
  • Housing and incidental costs such as electricity and utilities.
  • Healthcare and consultancy fees involved with healthcare services.
  • Education of their dependents and maintenance costs such as clothing and stationery.
  • Communication and cellphone expenses.
  • Recreational activities and entertainment.
  • Other miscellaneous expenses such as household items, personal care, and emergency expenses.

We’re not trying to be comprehensive. This is not scientific calculator. It just gives you an idea what it costs to live in South Africa if you're a low income worker.

Input your estimations and click to see your results on the Living Wage.

Listen to the full conversation on the John Maytham Show:


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