Parliament has asked Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare Paul Mavima to come to the House and explain the rationale behind the recently gazetted salaries for domestic workers in the country.
According to Statutory Instrument 37 of 2020, Labour (Domestic Workers) Employment (Amendment) Regulations, 2020 (no.19) a gardener (Grade 1) will now be getting a monthly salary of ZW$160, cook/house-helper (Grade 2) ZW$168, child-minder (Grade 3) ZW$179 while disabled or aged-minder (Grade 4) will get $189.
The salaries come at a time when the price of a 10 kilogram of roller meal has been pegged by government at ZW$70 and at a time when a 2 kilogram of sugar is going for anything around ZW$40 and a 2-litre bottle of cooking oil is asking for ZW$65 in OK Supermarket.
The domestic workers’ salaries issue has raised concern among a lot of people with some saying it shows how government officials are disconnected from reality on the ground.
Speaking in the National Assembly, Proportional Representation legislator Lynette Karenyi said domestic workers are people who also have school-going children and families to feed.
“I would like to draw your attention to the Newsday of today, which I strongly feel that we need the Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare to come and explain on the issue of domestic workers’ wages. It was in the newspaper that the domestic workers will get ZW$168 per month.
“I strongly feel that those domestic workers have children who are also going to the same schools as those who are teachers or Members of Parliament. We want the Minister to come and explain what would be the cause for it.
“Is it feasible that the domestic workers can survive on ZW$168 considering that they also have children who are going to school and they also want to buy food,” she said.
While salaries are pegged between ZW$160 and ZW$189, the Zimbabwe Schools Examination Council (ZIMSEC) on the other hand will be charging about ZW$190 per subject for “O” ordinary level and this means domestic workers cannot afford to pay for a single subject for their children in 2020.
In his response, the Speaker of National Assembly Jacob Mudenda said the Minister or his deputy should give the statement this week.
“The Honourable Deputy Minister of Public Service, Labour and Social Welfare, I am sure you captured that.
“If you can give us a statement or your Minister can do so this week,” said the Speaker.