Payment of care work in South Africa

A care worker is someone who performs activities in service of others. Rape crisis counsellors are one type of care worker. Others include childcare workers, teachers, nurses and other people who provide physical and practical care in times of illness, dependence, crisis, or emotional need.

No society can hold together if its members are not cared for. But do we fully recognize the value of care work? You can help answer this by responding to the questions below.Thuthuzela_logo

What should a rape crisis counsellor earn every month?

Once the police bring a rape survivor to the hospital to be examined it is the rape crisis counsellor’s job to explain the process, accompany the survivor through the medico-legal examination, provide psychological first aid and ensure the survivor gets follow-up counselling. These counsellors usually work 12 hour shifts day and night.

Please tell us in the comments how much you think the counsellor should be paid every month for this work

Posted in Dealing With Rape, Uncategorized Tagged with: ,
50 comments on “Payment of care work in South Africa
  1. Barbara Kenyon says:

    I think that trained Careworker/counsellors should earn at least R200 per shift, however Non-profit organisations are not in a position to adequately pay commensurate salaries to the public sector.

  2. Noélle Koeries says:

    I think that it depends on the organisation but nothing under R20000 is reasonable. We are talking about front line health professionals.

  3. Masikhwa Tshilidzi says:

    Minimum wage should be R6000

  4. Masikhwa Tshilidzi says:

    These people work with emotional issues and are very dedicated to their work, they have over the years demonstrated that they can turn the lives of the victims around which the government employees are not able to.

  5. Bea Spence says:


  6. Lisa Vetten says:

    I would put it between R6 000 to R8 000 as well. Counsellors should also receive regular debriefing and ongoing training.

  7. Kathleen Dey says:

    R10 000 per month, presuming they work an eight hour day Monday – Friday only. Note: I am aware they work 12 hour shifts and that they work weekends and public holidays too but that would need to be calculated separately and I am not sure I know how to do that.

  8. Lili Radloff says:

    Depends on their qualifications? But no less than R10 000.

  9. Dominique Le Roux says:

    I would agree with an absolute minimum of R6000 per month. I would then add on that a shift allowance if they are working after “normal” business hours.

  10. Patrizia Benvenuti says:

    I would say between 7,000 and 9,000 per month, depending on the case load. Counsellors working in night shifts and/or week-ends should be paid more. They should have access to regular debriefing and training programmes.

  11. Joan van Niekerk says:

    If trained lay counsellors but not professionals – because front line health professionals are not the ones who walk the path with the rape/victim from reporting at the SAPS through to court and perhaps even after – at least R8000 per month.

    they are sometimes called out after hours (Unfortunately rapists don’t keep office hours) track the whole legal process, often see family etc.

  12. Patty Akriel says:

    Would propose minimum 10,000 per month (dependent on experience and qualifications) – but also to give benefits i.e. at minimum they should have employer contributing 75 % of medical aid…to ensure that they have constant access to counseling themselves

  13. Gail Smith says:

    12 hour shifts? Its not clear if this is every day. But it doesnt really matter, just seeking clarity. I think the Gross salary should be approx R25 000 a month, to enable them to also have full medical aid coverage. The constant exposure to trauma on top of the grueling hours will no doubt lead to health and mental health challenges. Also, am assuming these are mostly women, so their salary should include sufficient funds to enable them to pay for reliable child-care, so they can work without the fear for their children’s safety. And in view of the country’s public transport constraints, their salaries should take into account the cost of public transport.

  14. sally shackleton says:

    people working long shifts should get additional support of transport home if they knock off when public transport is not available; training and regular debriefing must be provided. They should earn between 7,000 and 12,000 a month. Department of health peer educators or home based carers receive a ‘stipend’ not a salary and are paid between 1500 and 2200 per month (work is often based on number of people seen) so this often sets the bar for workers employed in these positions. Funders in turn, often impose these bench marks on NGO’s.

  15. Mmaja says:

    The counselors should be paid minimum of R8,000/month depending on experience and qualifications, and an annual inflation related increase. This salary excludes Sundays and public holiday pay.

  16. Nazma Hendricks says:

    R8000 to R10 000 per month.

  17. Alicia Voges says:

    In my opinion a trained rape crisis counsellor, should earn R15k monthly. I understand that most NGOS and NPOS do not have sufficient funds to cater for this. However, the Department of Social Development plays a vital role. There are NPOS where rape counsellors give free sessions. This is a great contribution to the community, but the counsellor needs to be remunerated, as the duration of a counselling session is anything from 1 – 3 hours.

  18. vanessa says:

    8000 to 10 000 per month

  19. Maureen van Dieman says:

    I think as trained,professionalcommitted counselor and care workers we should be paid minimum R10,to R15,000 per month depends on our experience and level of education and qualifications as some of us are trying to better ourselves every year by doing more courses in order to educate ourselves

  20. Nandipha Ganya says:

    The hourly rate should be between R60 and R65 per 12 hour shift,excluding weekends or public holidays, in order to reach a benchmark salary of at least R6000 per month with weekends and public holidays continuing to be extra pay. The women on the front-line are dedicated, self-less and hard working individuals and should be justly compensated for the brilliant work that they do with survivors of rape.

  21. Colleen Rogers says:

    I really think that we need to look at the various roles here as well. I presume we are talking TCC and similar places, where there are Social Workers, Social Auxiliary Workers, First responders. Salaries need to compare. At TCC’s there are really no provisions for Trauma Counsellors or would they replace First responders? I think First Responders could be trained to do both “jobs” and get a salary not less than R6000 – R8000. Qualifications could also be different – not necessarily formal – but still able to do the work well. Shift work also needs to be put into the mix. There’s a lot to think about especially when salaries of all the role players are considered. DSD pay R8000 + for Social Workers and R6+ for Social Auxiliary Workers who work office hours!

  22. Kleintjie Nel says:

    Taking into account the long hours they work, 12 hours day duty and 12 hours night duty- how difficult some cases are to handle; the fact that they also work on weekends- the emotional burden etc.etc It will only be fair to pay the trained counsellors at least R8000- R10 000 and then extra for weekend shifts.

  23. Bobby Rodwell says:

    They should be earning R20,000 a month for 12 hour shifts, and course are not! Realistically, they should earn R10,000. It is ironic that women who work in the front line as care givers, are themselves victims of economic abuse, and so the circle goes round and round!

  24. Shahana rasool says:

    Care Workers play an important role in our society. Providing support to rape victims is essential. I would say R15000-20000 depending on training and skill

  25. Sheila Young Steinbrenner says:

    R10,000 per month(based on three 12hr shifts per week; 144 hrs/pm) or approximately R69.50 per hour. With shift differentials, and continued training. Their work is absolutely vital and as such should receive adequate remuneration, and continuing education. Additionally, as part of a care worker’s employment package there must be the inclusion of counseling services, immediately available/accessible, particularly due to the need ameliorate risk of secondary traumatization.

  26. Nonhlanhla Mokwena says:

    Care workers are dedicated individuals who have dedicated their lives to caring for others. It should be standard that they all should have access to care for carers programmes. The salary should be an entry level R10 000 plus benefits, medical aid and pension or provident fund.

  27. Elroy Paulus says:

    I think that a trained rape counsellor performs one of the most needed services. Ideally R15 000 p.m. with strong support for transport, facilities and required resources. The trick lies in how to roll these services out – it should get support from other support services,for example community health workers – but not in competition with much needed state resources. So – there should be broader support for all such underfunded services – demanding that allocations be increased to health and social services based on current needs.

  28. Nataly Woollett says:

    Unfortunately value is often gleaned from a number…the skills of lay counsellors would be more valued and prioritized if they were paid more (and what their skill set is worth). I would say 15000-20000 per month is a good range, with proper benefits and consistent training, mentorship and debriefing. Professionalizing their contribution is essential and having a regulatory body to oversee the profession is also vital. This cadre of worker should be fully integrated into the facilities they work in and be recognized as crucial members of multidisciplinary teams managing rape and post rape care and treatment.

  29. Vanessa says:

    From R10 000 per month

  30. Jeanette Sera says:

    All social workers, social auxilliary workers and trained counsellors funded by DSD should be paid what DSD is paying to their staff, which will include benefits such as medical aid and pension fund. Experience and years of service should be acknowledged

  31. Colleen Rogers says:

    Another comment: I recently spoke with the subject head of the psychology department at NWU. She responded to one of my queries saying that I need to remember that both Social Workers and Psychology graduates ARE NOT qualified to be counsellors. A number of comments from various stakeholders at TCC suggest that SW or SAW do the counselling which means that there are unqualified people doing this – unless they have had additional “counsellor” training. I also think everyone needs supervising/debriefing on a regular basis. There needs to be some checks and balances, even if it only on the emotional level!!! Emotional bank balance!

  32. Roshan Safodien says:

    At least 8000 and annual increase in line with inflation rate and shift allowance after 8 hrs. At least 1accredited course per year towards self development wich is in line of service delivered to survivors. Clearly current careworkers r there out of pure passion and not financial gain. Would be sad to lose such valuable contributors due to financial restraints.

  33. Jennifer Molefe says:

    Counsellors should earn 10 000 with benefits like medical aid and a pension fund since they work irregular hours including night shifts and weekends.

  34. Sadiyya Haffejee says:

    I would say depends on level of training and experience; between R6000 – R10 000 a month or an hourly rate. Included in the ‘package’ should also be regular debriefing sessions as well as other psychotherapeutic support.

  35. Shaheda Omar says:

    I think care workers performing such a critical function should be recognized for their commitment and efforts and a reasonable amount of 8000 -10 000 with medical benefits should be considered.

  36. zama mabaso says:

    I believe they should be paid R8000 to12000 per month however this should be the take home salary the gross should include the pension fund, medical aid,transport allowance and housing allowance The fact that they are available for such an important frontline role in our communities

  37. Heidi Coetzee says:

    Care workers, especially counsellors at TCCs and Victim empowerment centres are definitely one of the underpaid health care worker categories in South Africa. Taking into account the hours they work as well as being prone to compassion fatigue as they constantly are exposed to narratives of emotional distress they desrve to be paid at least R8000/month. Qualifications and experience also needs to be taken into account. We need to take care of the carers that take care of our society.

  38. Tessa Hochfeld says:

    This is a really challenging job with long hours and requires real emotional investment. I would say that a minimum starting amount should be R8,000, but depending on qualifications and experience up to R15,000.

  39. Elaine Nelson says:

    From R8000 up to R10,000 per month.

  40. Sarah Flemmer says:

    At this stage I would say R6000 per month. They are worth much more but paying them R8000, which would be far more ideal, would require overhaul of the sector which just can’t keep up with those salaries, largely due to DSD under-funding posts. But this begs the question: since the first responders offer such a valuable service to the TCC and its clients, why doesn’t NPA–which is responsible for the TCCs–help subsidize?

  41. Mpho Ralepeli says:

    First Responders who are doing Day-Night rotational shift should be paid a minimum of R4000.00 +R1200.00 Night shift allowance + travelling allowance based on local rates.
    UIF, COIDA should apply in keeping with Basic Conditions of Employment Act.

  42. Nomfundo Majola says:

    I think trained FR/ Counsellors should be a minimum of R7000 per month however we are not yet in the position to adequately pay the amount as NGO’s

  43. Sharon Kouta says:

    I would say that First Responders should earn between R8000 – R12000. Adequate training and supervision should be provided as well as care for care-givers. Some First Responders indicated that they would prefer an external supervisor in order for them to really feel free to talk about their own emotional challenges they may experience as a result of their work

  44. Gwen Dereymaeker says:

    Between 15,000 and 20,000/month

  45. Sanja Bornman says:

    I would say absolutely no less than R8 000 per month, as an entry level salary, with additional transport and incidental support.

  46. Deirdre Byrne says:

    I’d say more than R20 000 a month as this is a crucial function and very demanding.

  47. Jade says:

    I do not think that it would be fair for a counselor who underwent a short training course to be paid the same as a Social worker who studied for 4 years to obtain their degree. If a counselor is to be paid R10 000-R15 000 then social workers’ salaries would also need to be amended.

  48. Akhona says:

    Without blowing our (Social Workers) own horn but I feel that along with Teachers we are the most underpaid care workers (in a professional capacity). The work that we do is no child’s play and deserves a huge amount of respect. Being underpaid as we are is a form of disrespect to our profession. We did not come into the profession only for money or some form of gold medals, so did the doctors who are paid double the amount we are paid if not triple. The foundation of why we took this profession was to help people and contribute to the social well being of our communities. My point is that to a greater degree, like doctors, people’s lives are in our hands (psychosocially) and we deserve the same amount of respect. For many years, Social Workers (and other care workers) have practiced false humility to an extent that it has become our reality where we believe that we are not as important as other professionals such as Doctors and therefore we must accept the peanuts that we get as payment. It is high time that we stop being complacent with false humility and starting claiming our respect (starting with a raise). From a Social Worker point of view, R20 000- R25000 should be a grade 1 payment.

  49. Batsy says:

    I would say a minimum of 7000.00 plus medical and transport benifits

  50. Sheri says:

    Although Social Workers do not have the same level of qualifications as a Psychologist, the nature of the work is comparable to a certain degree. I think the rates of Psychologists, as set by the HPCSA, provides a good guideline for what Social Workers should be earning. I understand there are implicit differences in what they do, but in terms of the nature of care they provide their clients, and factors such as vicarious trauma and burnout, there are broad similarities that could be used to argue for better rates for our Social Workers.

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