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'Domestic workers struggling to access government's special Covid-19 relief'

3 July 2020 12:11 PM

Sadsawu's Myrtle Witbooi explains many domestic workers aren't UIF registered and the direct contact number is hard to access.

Myrtle Witbooi of the SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers’ Union (Sadsawu) speaks to Lester Kiewit about their drive to have domestic workers be declared eligible to apply for special Covid-19 relief payments from government.

Domestic workers are often in vulnerable situations in relation to employment, often not registered with UIF. The lockdown has made the situation even worse as many are still not working or are working less.

Witbooi says according to the labour department only 16,000 employers of the country's one million domestic workers applied to the Covid-19 Ters relief fund.

She says she has proof that a number of domestic workers received as little as R1000 a month from the fund.

Of course, there were good employers and for that we are thankful.

Myrtle Witbooi - SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers’ Union (SADSAWU)

She says it was announced that domestic workers were allowed to apply to the relief fund directly.

Numbers were given, but we find many... just could not get through to that number.

Myrtle Witbooi - SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers’ Union (Sadsawu)

She adds that there have been payment blockages on the part of the UIF as well.

The union is taking up all these issues with the labour department, she says.

Domestic workers that work for an employer for more than 24 hours a month or have worked for more than three months must be registered with UIF, she says.

So most domestic workers should have been registered and had access to unemployment funds - but that is not the reality in South Africa.

Myrtle Witbooi - SA Domestic Service and Allied Workers’ Union (Sadsawu)

Listen to the interview below:


3 July 2020 12:11 PM

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