Domestic Work Policy Brief no. 8

Domestic work voice and representation through organizing

This document is part of a series of briefs on issues and approaches to promoting decent work for domestic workers.

Despite improved labour protections in countries around the world, domestic workers in many places still struggle to claim these rights. Even where laws are in place, the unequal bargaining position of domestic workers in the employment relationship and conditions of poverty compel them to accept unfair labour practices, including unduly low wages, late payments, underpayment or nonpayment of wages, extremely long hours, and sometimes more extreme forms of abuse and exploitation. These unacceptable forms of work are perpetuated by conditions that are particular to the sector: domestic workers work in isolation, behind closed doors, and their unequal bargaining position in the home disables them from claiming rights that may be provided by law, bargaining for better conditions, and, worse, unable to refuse exploitative work.