Domestic help guide Cape Town
Live-in and live-out help are both common in Cape Town. Of course, the option to have a live-in housekeeper or domestic help is really only open to those with the facilities. Typically, domestics live in en-suite quarters adjoining the house, with separate access from outside.
Most domestic servants are African women from the poor township areas of Langa, Khayelitsha and Guguletu. On the average day, traveling home from the Atlantic Seaboard might take them as much as two hours, requiring a combination of train trips, taxi rides and long-distance walking. A job as a live-in domestic is thus considered very desirable, as it presents a chance to save on both accommodation and what can be quite hefty travel expenses.
Commonly, domestic servants (or maids, as colloquially named) arrive in the early morning, at 08:00 or 09:00, and finish work at 17:00 having cleaned and tidied the house as well as done the laundry and ironing. Frequently, domestics will assume such a workday even if you live in an apartment easily cleaned in half the time. Be sure to specify if you want them to leave earlier.
This is particularly important as, if your domestic works more than 24 hours a month, she’ll be entitled to certain privileges as your employee, including a salary of between R110 and R180 per day and the protection of a proper employment contract. Visit http://www.labour.gov.za/legislation/acts/basic-guides/basic-guide-to-employment-contracts-domestic-workers for guidance on how to lay out a legal employment contract. Alternatively, contact the Department of Labor on 021 468 5500.
There are numerous way of finding domestic help aside from staffing agencies (though I’ve listed several of those below). These include:
Advertising in Job Mail
This weekly classifieds newspaper has nationwide circulation. To place a free ad, visit http://www.jobmail.co.za/place-free-advert.
Community message boards
These are located near the entrances to most supermarkets, including Spar, Checkers and Pick ‘n’ Pay.
Word of mouth
Once you’ve made a few friends in Cape Town, be sure to ask around. This is probably the most common way to find a good, trustworthy domestic without having to pay high agency fees.
Having agency-affiliated maids can be more convenient, as the agency is responsible for all legal issues relating to the domestic, including providing sick and leave pay and unemployment insurance. Marvelous Maids are thus not only easy to hire but also easy to fire to if you’re unsatisfied with their work.
This is the largest domestic servant agency in the country. Marvellous Maids operates throughout the Western Cape, and provides both permanent and temporary domestic placements. Their candidates are thoroughly background-checked and will be delivered and collected from your door. Your only responsibility will be to provide them with some sort of lunch (a sandwich and some fruit will do).
Rates vary from R180 to R205 per day.
Call 0861 150 30 or visit http://www.marvellousmaids.co.za.
This agency serves the Tableview, Parklands, Milnerton and Melkbos aeas, and offers a similar drop-off, pick-up service as Marvellous Maids, without the latter’s lunch break requirements. They charge R195 for a full day’s service.
Call 021 556 3986 or visit http://www.mollymaid.co.za/service.htm
This recruitment agency offers pro bono placements of underprivileged domestics at per-case prices. Since they don’t charge any fees, they are usually less expensive than going through the other agencies.