The International Labour Organisation estimates that up to 100 million people work in domestic households and that 83% of these are women or girls and many are migrant workers. Millions work under appalling conditions with limited freedom and no legal rights or protection. Last year, the International Labour Organisation adopted Convention 189 titled “Decent Work for Domestic Workers” (the Convention) which requires countries to take steps to improve working conditions for domestic workers. One year after its adoption, the Convention has only been ratified by three countries (Uruguay, Philippines and Mauritius) and it is crucial that more countries ratify the Convention and strengthen the legal protections for domestic workers.
This Report examines existing laws that protect domestic workers in selected countries and aims to identify where new laws will be required in order to provide domestic workers with the rights and protections embodied in the Convention. These protections include reasonable working hours and rest periods, clear information on terms and conditions of employment (and limits on in-kind payment) and respect for fundamental principles and rights at work, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining. The countries examined for this research were England, France, Italy, Turkey, Singapore, Indonesia, South Africa and Chile. The aim of this research is to encourage more countries to ratify the Convention and actively consider next steps for its implementation.