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Constitutional Court victory for domestic workers


20 November 2020

Staff Reporter/PretoriaLIVE

PRETORIA – Persons employed in private households will now be able to apply for compensation when injured (on duty) or when they contract a disease in the course of their employment.

This comes after judgment was passed down in the Constitutional Court of the Republic of South Africa which declared section 1(xix)(v) of the Compensation for Occupational Injuries and Diseases Act, 1993 unconstitutional to the extent that it excludes domestic workers employed in private households from the definition of “employee”, thereby preventing them from accessing workers’ compensation.

Norton Rose Fulbright, together with advocates Emma Webber and Lerato Phasha, represented the Commission for Gender Equality (CGE) which intervened in the matter in order to, highlight to the Court the devastating impact that the exclusion has on black women in South Africa.

Dependants of domestic employees will also qualify to claim should their breadwinner sustain a fatal accident at work.

This order will apply retrospectively, with the result that those who suffered claims prior to this order will also qualify to apply for compensation.

The judgment found that the exclusion was discriminatory and infringed on domestic employees’ rights to dignity, equality and social security.