Domestic Worker

The main responsibilities of a domestic worker are to clean and tidy an employer’s home and wash and iron the laundry.

Specific tasks involved and materials and equipment used will vary slightly from one employer to another. Each employer gives instructions in respect of specific requirements. Domestic work can be done full-time in return for a salary and may possibly include accommodation. Part-time domestic workers work in a number of different homes during the course of a week.

Depending on the individual's skills and talents, a domestic worker may be called upon to carry out any of the following specialized duties:

  • caring for young children
  • collecting children from school or nursery school
  • baby-sitting
  • feeding and caring for pets
  • light garden duties
  • light sewing or mending
  • arranging flowers
  • preparing the dinner table and food for dinner or cocktail parties
  • helping and washing-up at functions or dinner parties
  • house-sitting for employers on holiday
  • taking accurate telephone messages.
The employer and the domestic worker, at the commencement of employment, should agree upon these tasks. In some cases certain tasks, particularly those that occur outside normal working hours or on an ad-hoc basis, will be paid for at an extra rate.

Personal Requirements

  • physically fit and healthy
  • reliable and honest
  • integrity
  • friendly
  • flexible

How to Enter

Schooling & School Subjects

No specific requirements.

What to Study

In most cases, employers train their domestic workers themselves by showing them how to do their tasks. A training workshop for domestic workers is also offered by the Pretoria Building Centre. Emphasis is placed on daily handling, cleaning and maintenance of electrical appliances and the application of cleaning agents. Handling of appliances is demonstrated and illustrated with a video. A certificate is issued after completion of the course.

Training for domestic workers is also offered by various groups and private training centres, amongst others the Apex, Emthonjeni Training Centre, as well as the group training centres of Natal and Bloemfontein. Enquiries in this regard may be made to the nearest office of the Department of Labour.


  • full-time positions away from home
  • full-time with families with children where both spouses are at work
  • part-time in a number of different homes

Getting Started

  • try to obtain vacation work in a children’s home or old age home
  • make an appointment to speak to a housekeeper at an hotel, for example, about this type of career

Related Occupations

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