In 2019, the Ugandan parliament suggested that the government should pass the minimum wage bill into a law. The private members’ Bill passed by Parliament seeks to provide for the determination of a minimum wage based on the different sectors of the economy.
Luckily, the bill was passed into a law. Although he previously said passing it into a law would scare away the investors, it is just right that the minimum wage earners be paid a specific amount of wage.
House helps are one of those people who will benefit from the minimum wage bill if it is passed into a law because for a long time they have been in the picture due to their incredible work but they are still paid little money.
We need not to forget the women who are caretakers of homes because they play a greater role in home in the absence of the owners much as they are not really recognised in the country.
Esther Acayo says she happened to work for people who did not values her services because they felt she needed them more than they needed her, a mentality that she too conceived and lived by it.
“I was treated like a typical outsider in a way that I never ate the same food as them, never sat in the living room to watch TV, slept in the Kitchen and always waited for my employees to finish eating before I could take my own meal. I was expected to stand and keep handing over to them what they needed as they ate,” narrates Acayo.
She says she only discovered that her rights were being trampled on after she was unfairly dismissed without pay of four months which necessitated her to go to seek for help from the law. After taking a statement from her and the employers, they discovered that she was being over worked and under paid under harsh conditions.
Initially I was earning shs 60,000 but the police officers ordered she paid me atleast shs 100,000 which they complied to.
Treat them fairly
Miria Matembe, an activist says she sees no reason as to why a house maid should be treated different from other children because apart from being paid for their services, they too need love from the owners of the home.
She says people who employ house helps should know they need each other because they offer each other help in different ways so respect should be accorded to the house help.
“People who default in payment or even pay late are doing a disservice to the house helps because they all have things to do so the payment should come on time,” says Matembe.
She says before taking in a person, the employer ought to look into what the house help will be doing and also the time they will be putting into the work they are doing so that they can be able to pay them fairly.
The law should be enforced
Johnson Akol Onapito a local chairperson says house helps are one of the group of people who are harshly treated simply because most of them are illiterates and do not know their rights.
Most of the cases I have handled always turn out to be cases of ignorance because in their narrations you get to know that the house help has been oppressed by their employers.
“He says much as he wants to help the house helps get justice, the law usually finds a way of failing them because it has not really been enforced and they are looked at a by the way,” says Onapito.
He advises the employers to use their conscience when handling another person’s child because they are always vulnerable and anything can harm them in case they are neglected.