Domestic Workers Convention Enters Into Force
GAATW calls on governments to ratify ILO 189
5 September 2013
The landmark Domestic Workers Convention is in legal effect today, bringing the promise of human and labour rights protections to millions of workers, most of whom are women and girls, many of whom are migrant workers. GAATW calls on governments to ratify and implement this global treaty.
Adopted in 2011 and now ratified by eight countries – Bolivia, Italy, Mauritius, Nicaragua, Paraguay, the Philippines, South Africa, and Uruguay – the International Labour Organization’s Convention on Domestic Workers establishes standards for the millions of workers whose labour is often hidden from view in private homes. Domestic work in private households accounts for nearly one third of all female employment in Asia Pacific and is the largest driver of women’s labour migration in the region. GAATW Member Organisation ATKI-HK is one of many domestic worker groups actively campaigning for the ratification of this global treaty.
Often excluded from countries’ labour laws, domestic workers are at disproportionate risk of human rights violations by their employers, or the employer’s family members and friends. These may include withheld wages, forced confinement, excessively long working days, no time off, verbal, physical and sexual abuse. Conditions can constitute forced labour or trafficking. The Convention affirms the protections to which domestic workers are entitled, including minimum wage, limited working hours, weekly days off, written contracts setting out the terms and conditions, and decent living conditions. The global treaty also calls on States to ensure effective protection against all forms of abuse, harassment and violence, and promote and protect fundamental principles and rights at work, including freedom of association and the right to collective bargaining.
Today we celebrate the success of the domestic workers movement in achieving this important milestone in the work to realise their rights and call on governments to act promptly to protect the rights of domestic workers.