ILO strategy: Making decent work a reality for domestic workers

The ILO Strategy for action towards making decent work a reality for domestic workers worldwide envisages support for countries that are committed and ready to take measures aimed at improving the protection and working conditions of domestic workers, regardless of whether these involve ratifying Convention No. 189 in the immediate future. It recognizes that real change in the lives of domestic workers requires building national capacities and institutions and facilitating social and attitudinal change, which are complex and long processes. With an initial timeframe of 2012-2015, the ILO strategy encompasses actions at global, regional, and country levels in five broad areas:
 
  • Building and strengthening national institutions and, when required, adopting effective policy and legislative reforms and/or programmes;
  • Facilitating the organization and representation of domestic workers and their employers;
  • Support in respect of ratification and implementation of Convention 189 and the implementation of Recommendation 201;
  • Awareness-raising and advocacy on domestic workers’ rights;
  • Building the knowledge base on domestic work and exchange of experiences between countries to enhance actions and impact at country level.

The issues surrounding domestic work are multidimensional and cut across several aspects, including remuneration, working time and other aspects of working conditions; child domestic work; international labour migration; forced labour; collective bargaining; labour inspection; and workers’ organization. ILO assistance to country-level activities may focus on any or a combination of these aspects. Discussed by the ILO Governing Body (November 2011), the ILO strategy on domestic work serves as a unifying framework for coherent and integrated approaches. Several ILO units and programmes and all Field Offices are collaborating with national constituents and partner institutions to make decent work a reality for domestic workers worldwide. The ILO also collaborates with UN Women, the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, UN human rights treaty bodies and special procedures of the Human Rights Council, and the OSCE in addressing domestic work.