Just a bit more money, cry domestic workers!

All about Minimum Wage, Domestic Workers, Minimum Wage in Zambia, Wages and Salaries, Labour Laws and Workplace Rights in Zambia on Mywage Zambia.

By Meluse Kapatamoyo

Although their importance to the efficient running of most homes cannot be over emphasised, domestic workers in Zambia still remain one of the lowest paid working groups.
Salaries for many have remained stagnant for several years despite the cost of living going up.

Malama Mapoma said, “My salary has never gone up since I started work three years ago. I am paid K250, 000 per month. My madam often talks about increasing my salary almost on a daily basis but it never happens. I am a hard worker and most times go out of my way to prove that to them, hoping they will feel pity and give me more money. I am a single parent with four children under 10 years old. They need shelter, food and education.”

Malama said despite working she still lives on hand-outs from family members and neighbours. From the money she is paid, K100, 000 goes towards rent for a one room un-electrified house in a shanty compound, leaving her with little to survive on, “I am not asking for too much. Just a little bit more, to reduce my burden.”

While Malama’s plight and that of other domestic workers may seem urgent, her situation is unlikely to change.

“We sympathise with them and wish we can pay them more but we cannot afford this because our salaries are quite low too. It’s unfortunate, but most domestic workers who insist on salary increments lose their jobs and are replaced with somebody who is willing to work for what we can afford,” explained an employer who preferred anonymity.

When asked about the methodologies used by employers to come up with salary packages for domestic workers, she responded, “Most ask their friends. It’s then, that, you decide whether or not to give them more or less.”