With prices going up on a daily basis the only way for the working class to be able to afford basic commodities is through regular price increases. Unfortunately, these do not come often enough and inflation always seems to be ahead of wage increases. The government recently gazetted Statutory Instrument 101 of 2022 which sets the minimum wage for domestic workers at $10 000 ZWL (about US24) per month. To say that is not enough for the average person is an understatement.

The entire thing makes for sad reading. Here are some of the provisions of the law:

  • The minimum wages for a gardener also known colloquially as “garden boy” are as follows:
    • ZWL$10 000 per month,
    • ZWL$2 500 per week,
    • ZWL$454.50 per day,
    • and ZWL$50.50 per hour. The hourly rate makes it even more ridiculous. That is the equivalent of a packet of jiggies.
  • For a cook or housekeeper otherwise known as a “house girl” the set minimum wages are as follows:
    • ZWL$10 500 per month
    • ZWL$2 625 per week,
    • ZWL$477.30 per day,
    • and ZWL$53.03 per hour.

If a worker does not reside at their workplace, they are to be given a transport allowance of $4 000 ZWL (about US$9.5). Again to say this money is not enough is an understatement. The Poverty Line for a single person is above $50 000 ZWL. It is ridiculous to prescribe a minimum wage that does not even cover this. What it means is that workers will not even earn enough to cover the worker’s needs.

Thankfully the laws of economics are likely to solve the issue. While you can probably get a maid for US$25 it will not be the kind of maid you want. People would rather be vendors than work for an hour in return for a wage that will not even be enough to buy a loaf of bread. It is not even close.