International Domestic Workers Day celebrated in Qatar with fun-filled event

Celebration highlights rights, lives and contribution of domestic workers

News | 16 June 2019
Celebrating International Domestic Workers Day in Qatar
Close to 200 domestic workers, employers, government representatives and members of civil society helped celebrate International Domestic Workers Day in Doha on 14 June 2019.

The event was organized by the Ministry of Administrative Development, Labour and Social Affairs (ADLSA), in close cooperation with the International Labour Organization (ILO) Project Office for the State of Qatar, and the International Domestic Workers Federation (IDWF).

During the event a number of speakers highlighted the important role of domestic workers.

“Today belongs to domestic workers,” said Elizabeth Tang, IDWF General Secretary.  “We are so glad to be holding this event in Qatar and that all of us are now part of the international community supporting better rights for domestic workers.”

Representatives of ADLSA, the National Commission for Education, Culture and Science, UNESCO, ILO, IWDF and civil society all highlighted the important role domestic workers play supporting households in Qatar, especially since women’s participation in the labour market started to rise.

The need for domestic workers rights and responsibilities to be known and understood by both workers and employers was emphasised, as was the importance of building and recognising workplace skills.

“Qatar adopted Law No. 15 in 2017 to clarify the rights and responsibilities of domestic workers and employers in the sector. This shows our commitment to ensure all domestic workers are adequately protected in our country,” said ADLSA’s Ibrahim Al Maadeed. “Among the rights codified in Law No. 15, it is important to stress that domestic workers should not work more than 10 hours a day and should have a day off”.

A domestic worker and an employer also took to the stage to share their experiences and suggest steps to foster a successful working relationship in the home.

A wide range of fun activities saw participants enjoy the day. Games, selfie stations and a falcon all drew big crowds while the energy levels hit maximum with a Zumba dance session.

“It’s been great, we should celebrate this every year here in Doha,” said Rosario Dano a domestic worker from the Philippines who has spent the last seven years in Qatar.

Messages of appreciation and inspiration to mark domestic workers day.
An exhibition of photographs highlighted domestic workers enjoying their day off around Doha. These images help raise awareness of how important spending their day off out of the house with friends and peers is to the well-being of domestic workers.

A video developed by ADLSA in collaboration with the ILO explaining the basic rights and responsibilities of domestic workers had its first screening. This will be translated into a variety of languages and disseminated widely. 

The event also included a booth to learn more on ‘My Fair Home’ campaign by the IDWF. ‘My Fair Home’ is a voluntary initiative encouraging employers of domestic workers to uphold the rights of domestic workers in their homes.

It is estimated that there are some 175,000 domestic workers in Qatar. This includes both women and men employed in households to carry out a range of tasks such as child and elderly care, cooking, cleaning, gardening, driving and guarding. 

“Domestic workers play an essential role in so many households. This event recognised the immense contribution they make to society and the importance that the rights and obligations of domestic workers and their employers are properly understood. After this event, awareness raising on Qatar’s Law No. 15 of 2017 needs to continue and intensify.” said Alix Nasri, Technical Specialist from the ILO Project Office for the State of Qatar.