Many South Africans employ domestic staff, but they often do not fulfil their formal obligations as employers. This includes having a proper employee contract in place, correctly recording annual and sick leave and making the relevant contribution to the Unemployment Insurance Fund (UIF). These measures may seem tedious to do but they protect both the employer and employee as it forms a legal representation of all proper paperwork and deductions.

Any employee who works for you for more than 24 hours a month, must be registered with the UIF. The Domestic Worker Act is the law regarding domestic workers in detail and includes gardeners and au pairs.

As an employer, you must register yourself with the Department of Labour to receive a contributor number, which is used to make payments. Your domestic worker is then registered as your employee as a beneficiary under your contributor number. A total of 2% of the employee’s salary must be paid to UIF each month; 1% from the employer and 1% deducted from the employee.

You may NOT deduct the following:

  • Any amount greater than your employee’s earnings
  • Any amount to cover damage or breakages of household items such as appliances and crockery.
  • Meals provided during work times
  • The cost of clothing used by your employee if they are required to wear a specific uniform
  • Work equipment such as brooms or lawnmowers

Who may apply for UIF Registration?

The UIF and Unemployment Insurance Contributions Act apply to all employers and workers EXCLUDING:

  • Those who work less than 24 hours a month for an employer
  • Learners
  • Public servants
  • Foreigners working on contract to be repatriated at the end of their contract
  • Workers who get a monthly state pension; since 07/02/2007, no longer excluded from contributing towards UIF or workers who only earn commission.

Although accomplishing all these requirements may seem like an effort now, it can save you a lot of difficulty in the long term if a question or dispute arises. Employing a domestic worker is a business transaction and both parties will be better protected if you have taken the appropriate legal steps from the get go.

Should you require assistance with registering your domestic worker with UIF, email us on and let us know your specific needs.