We’ve all had to suffer through the devastating impact of COVID-19, and that impact has been keenly felt by the domestic workers of South Africa. Banned from entering households during the hard lockdown, that loss of income has translated into some devastating national averages – as salaries have taken a huge knock.
Tough times for working-class citizens
A study conducted by SweepSouth, the online home cleaning platform, collected data from domestic workers across South Africa. Their findings make for tough reading, and the current situation has had ‘dire consequences’ for their livelihoods:
“This year has been a difficult period for all South Africans as the nation faced an unprecedented global crisis in the COVID-19 pandemic. This was compounded by South Africa struggling with a stagnant economy and marginal growth in the years leading up to 2020.”
“This placed severe downward pressure on household incomes with as many as 34% of households expected to exit the middle class. Given domestic workers earn a subset of the income of the homes they work in, the pandemic is expected to have dire consequences for their livelihoods.”
How much are domestic workers earning in South Africa?
The salaries for domestic workers in Mzansi plummeted during lockdown. Many employees have reported earning less than minimum wage throughout the pandemic, after previously being in a stronger position. The key findings include:
- Just 5% of all domestic workers earned above R5 000 a month pre-COVID. That dropped to 0% in the recent survey.
- The number of domestic workers earning less than R2 500 a month double during the pandemic.
- According to SweepSouth, their staff members were earning roughly R3 300 each month.
- The average for non-SweepSouth employees, according to this date, was a monthly salary of R2 814.
- Both of these figures were above the figures for the national minimum wage in March 2020, which translated to R2 741 p/m.
- However, the impact of COVID-19 means that these numbers have dropped significantly. As of September 2020, only 6% of all domestic workers are making more than R3 000 each month – down from 32% before the onset of coronavirus.
Read the original article on The South African