Education International
Education International

ILO adopts Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers

published 17 June 2011 updated 21 June 2011

EI and the Global March Against Child Labour have welcomed the adoption by the International Labour Organisation (ILO) of the Convention for protection of domestic workers, accompanied by a set of Recommendations at the International Labour Conference (ILC) in Geneva, Switzerland.

Following lengthy negotiations the ILO voted to adopt the historic Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers, 50 years since the issue of their rights was first raised.

EI has joined governments, employers and other unions at the annual ILC which voted to approve the Domestic Workers’ Convention by 396 to 16 with 63 abstentions.

EI Deputy General Secretary, Jan Eastman, said: “This is a milestone for domestic workers – one of the most vulnerable groups of workers across the world.”

“Around 100 million domestic workers stand to gain labour rights for the first time that will protect maids, nannies, cooks, helps across the world from exploitation. Too often invisible and hidden behind closed doors, which are hard to regulate, these workers, a larger number of them children, are exploited and abused.”

Almost without exception, children who are in domestic labour are victims of exploitation, often of several different kinds. They are exploited economically when they have to work long hours with no time off, low wages or no remuneration at all. They are exploited because they generally have no social or legal protection, and suffer harsh working conditions including, for example, having to handle toxic substances.

The Domestic Workers’ Convention sets the minimum age of employment and prohibits children in hazardous work and regulated working hours, leaves including maternity leaves, health insurance, among other decent work standards.

Welcoming the new Convention, Global March Chairperson, Kailash Satyarthi, said: “This is recognition of the inhuman condition of the millions of victims of child slavery cannot be ignored any further. Justice for them is inevitable. Global March calls for a speedy ratification of this Convention by governments, with utmost political will, priority and resources.”

EI and Global March encourage all ILO Member States to quickly ratify and implement the new Convention to ensure that the entire spectrum of labour and social rights of domestic workers will be respected, including minimum age and protection of young domestic workers from hazardous work.

In addition, Global March is renewing its calls for a major worldwide ratification campaign to be launched now. It is vital in countries in which child domestic labour is a problem and figures on hazardous child labour lists proceed to ratification and implementation as quickly as possible.

To read the Convention on Decent Work for Domestic Workers please click here

To read the Global March Campaign on Child Domestic Workers please click here.