Domestic workers will soon be able to claim for injuries at work, minister promises

Following a landmark court ruling, amendments to the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act - which will include domestic workers - will be presented to Parliament soon, Labour and Employment Minister Thulas Nxesi told Members of Parliament. 

In a written reply to MPs circulated on Tuesday, Nxesi was answering a question from Democratic Alliance MP Michael Cardo. Cardo had asked Nxesi what steps his department took to comply with a North Gauteng High Court order made earlier this year.

In May, the court ruled that the exclusion of domestic workers in the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act was unconstitutional.

According to a labour report from Statistics SA, there are around a million domestic workers in South Africa.

While Nxesi did not give specifics in his written reply, he did say the Department of Labour and Employment complied with the high court judgement and that Parliament would see the amendments to the Act soon.

"The Compensation of Injuries on Duty Amendment Act has been finalised and will be presented to Parliament. The definition of 'employee' has been amended to include that of domestic workers.

"The revenue model included private household as a surplus," said Nxesi.

According to research conducted by the University of the Western Cape's Domestic Work Research Project in 2017, domestic workers remain among the worst paid, most vulnerable and disempowered members of South Africa's workforce.