When we first arrived in Johannesburg and I was shown houses with maids quarters I was horrified. The thought of becoming a white person with a black maid (I hate that word!) seemed like an awful outdated, colonial cliche. However, when I began to understand the level of unemployment in SA and the fact that if I didn’t employ someone they wouldn’t have a job or in some cases a home, I began to feel differently.
Having someone work for you in your home (whether they live-in or not) obviously means you have to trust them completely. There are agencies you can go to, but word of mouth is probably the best way to find someone trustworthy and reliable. The fact that ‘help’ is so reasonable and widely available in Johannesburg is one of the advantages of living here, but it also involves a duty of care and if you want your family and your property to be safe, please be aware of the different circumstances that your staff live in compared to their place of work. Be kind, offer lifts when needed, don’t throw things away that could be offered to your staff, e.g clothes and food etc.
As with any job it’s important to be clear from the start about hours, duties, holidays etc. There are laws governing domestic workers just like all other workers here. These cover things like minimum wage (ridiculously low), notice periods and most other information you would expect.
On top of monthly wages, there is a discretionary 13th month cheque (bonus) which is given at Christmas time which is an extra month’s salary.