If domestic workers are the silent superwomen of South Africa, payslips are the kryptonite that could be their downfall.
New data reveals that South Africa has in excess of one million domestic workers, accounting for more than 8% of the total workforce of the country.
South African households are under tremendous financial pressure, having to cut spending costs amid rising food price inflation, fuel and electricity price hikes, and job uncertainty. Statistics show that among the worst to be hit, are domestic workers, with as many as 45,000 losing their job in the first quarter. This will come as a major blow to many communities where the salary of domestic workers is often the lifeblood of many households.
A recent survey conducted by Old Mutual found that 61% of households across all income groups said that they would fire their domestic worker to cut monthly costs as prices continue to climb.
According to SADSAWU, the vast majority of South African domestic workers who lose their jobs find that they are ineligible to claim UIF because they are not able to produce a history of official payslips.
“Letters from employers and bank statement will not allow domestic workers to claim UIF, they need a history of official payslips.” says Myrtle Witbooi, General Secretary of SADSAWU, “We get contacted by people coming crying to us every day.”
Compounding this is the fact that in a sector where the vast majority of employees are women, not having a history of official payslips, also disqualifies domestic workers from claiming maternity benefits from UIF. This results in turn means that most mothers are forced to return to work very quickly which has a direct impact on the development of their young babies.
Studies show that the first one thousand days of a baby’s life are critical to their development, and being left with a family member or stranger because financial vulnerability forces their mother to return to work, has a direct and measurable impact on that child’s own future.
A South African software company has developed a revolutionary solution to help combat this growing challenge. An open source free-to-use online payroll platform that automatically generates official monthly payslips for domestic workers.
“The platform is cloud based and completely secure” says Jean Pick, GreatSoft Managing Director, “We use the same top of the line security features that any of our corporate clients would expect and demand.”
The platform has been designed to be very simple to use and will benefit both domestic workers and their employers. A 3 to 4-minute registration process is all that is required, and thereafter payslips will be automatically created and can simply be printed monthly and given to domestic workers. The payslips automatically calculate and reflect UIF and any other deductions, and are fully compliant with all South African legislation.
“If you employ a domestic worker for more than 24 hours per month you are legislatively obligated to pay UIF and provide official payslips to that employee” Pick says, “And the very first step of all is to start providing monthly payslips. Without these you are putting your domestic worker at great risk that you won’t be able to solve with letters or bank statements.”
The Payroll Lite platform is completely free and specifically designed to assist domestic workers, their own families, and their employers.
The initiative has the potential to positively impact thousands of families, and is redefining the way that corporates in South Africa are able to contribute towards real social change.