A first of its kind study reveals some stark pay and living conditions of millions of domestic workers in South Africa, the majority of whom are the sole breadwinners in their households.

The SweepSouth Report on Pay and Working Conditions for Domestic Work in South Africa – a survey of more than 500 domestic workers – indicates that 84% of domestic workers are the sole bread winners and 70% are single mothers supporting, on average, three dependents.

The domestic workers report takes an in-depth look at the conditions in the domestic work industry in South Africa, in the context of high national poverty rates and a stagnant job market.

The survey shows that the average income of domestic workers polled is between R3000 and R4000 per month.

The agreed national minimum wage is set at R20 an hour or R3 500 for major sectors, with the exception of sectors such as farm and domestic workers.

  • The minimum wage for domestic workers is 75% of R20 per hour (R15 per hour – around R2625 a month.

The poll further highlights the basic monthly cost of living facing some domestic workers in the context of the minimum wage.

Average amount of money spent on:

  • Food: R900 per month
  • Electricity: R400 per month
  • School fees: R500 per month
  • Rent: R1000
  • Airtime: R100
  • TOTAL: R2900

More than 98% of respondents said they don’t have medical aid.

In terms of education, 57% of domestic workers have a matric certificate, while 29.5% say they didn’t finish school.

SweepSouth is increasing the rate it charges homeowners who use the platform in order to effect an increase up to 15% for domestic workers offering their cleaning services on the platform. On average domestic workers keep 80% of the total customer booking fee.

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