If domestic workers are the secret superwomen of South Africa, then the lack of 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 their spending amid rising food prices, increasing inflation rates, 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 of 2016. 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 retrench 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 not able to claim UIF because they are not able to do something as simple as produce a history of official payslips.
“Letters from employers and bank statement will not allow domestic workers to claim U.I.F, 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 U.I.F maternity benefits. This means that many mothers are forced to return to work very quickly after the birth if their child, and this has a direct impact on the development of their young babies.
Studies show the critical importance of mothers being able to spend the first few months of their baby’s life bonding and breastfeeding, and being forced to leave their children at home in order to return to work, will have a direct and measurable impact on their child’s development.
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 legally required to pay U.I.F and provide official payslips to that employee” Pick says, “The very first step – is to start providing monthly payslips. Without these you are putting your domestic worker at great risk. A risk that you won’t be able to solve retrospectively with letters or bank statements.”
The platform is called Payroll Lite, and is completely free and specifically designed to assist domestic workers 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.