Domestic worker rights: Dignity overdue

Labour rights article written on the 23 Mar 2011

Photo: Sarah Rennie/OxfamAUS

With the upcoming 100th International Labour Conference in June, domestic workers from around the world are demanding full recognition of trade union rights guarantees and protections for domestic workers. Together with supporters, they and are calling on Member States’ to fully endorse the upcoming adoption of a Domestic Workers’ Convention.

According to the ILO there are an estimated 100 million domestic workers worldwide—the vast majority are women.

In many countries domestic work is not recognized as real work, even if it is done to earn a living. Domestic workers are often excluded from labour legislation and do not have access to social protection. At the same time, domestic workers are amongst the most exploited category of workers in the world.

Human Rights Watch conducted an investigation into domestic worker conditions in 20 countries. The investigation found that domestic workers frequently work excessive hours for substandard wages, are exposed to various kinds of abuse, have limited or sometimes no option to take time off and can often be socially isolated. Because their workplace is a private home, many domestic workers suffer from abuses, including rape, sexual assault and other violence. This is in particular the case for migrant domestic workers.

According to human rights and labour organisations, action on this crucial issue is well and truly overdue. Give your support to the global campaign to recognise domestic workers’ rights.

Take action

Call on governments world wide to support protection of domestic workers’ rights

Find out more about the rights of domestic workers

Watch Dignity Overdue

A 2010 Human Rights Watch domestic worker documentary

Main Image: ITUC